Our Draft Budget 2020-21 has been endorsed for community feedback and we’d like your thoughts to help us deliver the best budget possible for the upcoming financial year.
This budget was developed amid the COVID-19 situation, presenting us with the challenge of framing a plan that not only delivers the services and facilities that our growing city needs, but also provides a foundation for recovery as the virus restrictions continue to ease.
To that end, we’re proposing a $53M capital works program that will deliver some exciting projects to improve the city while creating economic activity and job generation at a time when stimulus will be needed to prime our economy during the toughest downturn in generations.
Our Councillors have also endorsed a $3M Emergency Relief Program for those residential ratepayers most affected by COVID-19, while we’re continuing to work closely with other levels of government and the local business community to provide support and identify opportunities for developments that will further stimulate growth in our economy.
Some of the ‘headline’ projects of the Draft Budget include the ongoing works to create a fantastic community hub and visitor drawcard at our Riverside Precinct, a new education centre at the Wonga Wetlands, an extension to the beautiful Wagirra Trail and roadworks projects that will further develop our transport infrastructure to meet the needs of future growth.
These are just some of the 2,700 expenditure items in the budget. Among those are improvements to sporting and recreational facilities, including $1.1 M to continue the transformation of the Lavington Sports Centre into one of regional Australia’s best, almost $17M for major water and sewerage works across the city and $2.6M to construct the Albury Regional Skate Park in David Street.
As always, our budget proposes significant improvements in services to families, with plans for new or redeveloped parks, enhanced cultural services at our libraries and museums, and new trails for walking and riding or simply enjoying the wonderful natural attractions that our city offers.
Planning for growth is also a key focus of the budget, with a number of projects proposed for the Thurgoona-Wirlinga growth area. These include the Thurgoona Links Roads project and a signalised intersection at Elizabeth Mitchell/Thurgoona Drive to provide long-term traffic-flow improvements for a community expected to grow to 50,000 people within 50 years.
Also at Thurgoona, we’re seeking community help to design a new play space at Murray Park, an off-leash area for dogs and their owners, and the redevelopment of Ernest Grant Park.
Elsewhere, we’re planning to improve public safety with new CCTV cameras in the city centre, an investigation into the potential for at least one extra level on the Wilson Street car park, upgrades to sporting facilities at Bunton and Greenfield Parks, and improvements to our industry-leading Albury Waste Management Centre.
To help us further develop these proposals, along with hundreds more, we’re asking our community to have a say by emailing or writing to us.
We’ve also scheduled a series of community information sessions at which we’ll present our budget plans and answer any questions you might have.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 means we cannot host community meetings as we usually do at budget time, so this year we’re running a series of webinars where you can ‘virtually’ attend and share your thoughts with us.
The first of those webinars will be held today at 5.30 pm so please do take the opportunity to join us online.
The preparation of any budget is always driven by community needs with advice and suggestions from our residents and businesses providing the foundation for growth and development and your feedback so far has been instrumental in helping us reach this point.
Thank you to those who have already had their say and we look forward to receiving more feedback as we continue to work together to grow and enhance our city.