Have Your Say on Council’s 2024/25 Draft Budget

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The Rural City of Wangaratta has prepared the 2024/25 Draft Budget as required by the Local Government Act 2020. The Draft Budget outlines the resources required to deliver the Council Plan strategic objectives and includes a four-year budget forecast. It has now been published and is seeking community engagement and feedback through written submissions.

The community is welcome to provide written submissions up to 5pm Wednesday 05 June 2024.

Budget Highlights and Headline Figures of the Draft Budget include:

  • Total income of $91.76m
  • Total operating expenditure of $80.29m
  • An accounting surplus of $11.47m
  • An adjusted underlying operating surplus of $516k
  • A capital works program of $25.76m, inclusive of $3.67m of works to be carried over from 2023/24
  • A rate rise of 2.75% in line with the Fair Go Rate Cap
  • A waste service charge rise of 2.75% reflective of the rate cap
  • An individual user fees and charges rise of 4%, in line with inflation
  • No new borrowings

The Rural City of Wangaratta has prepared the 2024/25 Draft Budget as required by the Local Government Act 2020. The Draft Budget outlines the resources required to deliver the Council Plan strategic objectives and includes a four-year budget forecast. It has now been published and is seeking community engagement and feedback through written submissions.

The community is welcome to provide written submissions up to 5pm Wednesday 05 June 2024.

Budget Highlights and Headline Figures of the Draft Budget include:

  • Total income of $91.76m
  • Total operating expenditure of $80.29m
  • An accounting surplus of $11.47m
  • An adjusted underlying operating surplus of $516k
  • A capital works program of $25.76m, inclusive of $3.67m of works to be carried over from 2023/24
  • A rate rise of 2.75% in line with the Fair Go Rate Cap
  • A waste service charge rise of 2.75% reflective of the rate cap
  • An individual user fees and charges rise of 4%, in line with inflation
  • No new borrowings

Have your say on Council’s 2024/25 Draft Budget

Submissions may be made below via the Connect Wangaratta platform or by

  • Email: council@wangaratta.vic.gov.au. Please include “2024/25 Draft Budget” in the subject line. 
  • Mail: PO Box 238, Wangaratta VIC 3676. Please include “2024/25 Draft Budget” as the reference. 
  • In Person: At Customer Services, Wangaratta Government Centre – Corner Ford and Ovens Street, Wangaratta. Please reference “2024/25 Draft Budget” with your submission

PLEASE NOTE: Submissions are public documents and form part of the meeting minutes. Therefore, submitters’ names and addresses will become part of the public record. Anyone who has made a written submission to the Council may request to be heard by a Committee of Councillors, or be represented by another person acting on their behalf. If you want your submission to be heard by the Council, you must advise this in your written submission. Council will meet to adopt the 2024/25 Budget at the Scheduled Council Meeting on 25 June 2024 at 3pm. For further information please contact (03) 5722 0888.

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Comment on RCOW Draft Budget 2024: Merriwa Park and Gardens

Thank you for the opportunity to provide feedback on the RCOW Draft Budget 2024. I am writing to emphasize the importance of Merriwa Park and Gardens and to advocate for appropriate funding and initiatives that reflect its historic, cultural, and economic significance.

1. Historic and Cultural Significance: Merriwa Park and Gardens is a landmark with deep historical roots and cultural importance. The preservation of its unique features, such as the ancient stand of red gums, the fernery, the sound shell, and the ponds, is crucial. These elements not only provide a connection to our heritage but also reflect a proud and much valued community spirit. Increased funding for the preservation and restoration of these historic features will ensure they continue to be enjoyed by future generations.

2. Economic Significance and Tourism: As a major attraction, Merriwa Park and Gardens significantly contribute to the local economy by drawing tourists and visitors. The park’s natural beauty and amenities boost its appeal as a destination for both day-trippers and longer stays, supporting local businesses and hospitality services. We recommend allocating additional funds for promotional activities and infrastructure improvements that enhance visitor experience.

3. Preservation and Enhancement of Natural Features: The ecological health of Merriwa Park and Gardens is paramount. Protecting and enhancing its natural features, including the red gums, fernery, and ponds, requires targeted funding for conservation efforts. Implementing sustainable practices, such as water conservation systems and sensitive restoration, will preserve the park’s biodiversity and unique appeal. Additional resources should be allocated to ensure this can and will happen.

In conclusion, Merriwa Park and Gardens is an invaluable asset to our community, a cherished destination for residents and tourists alike. We ask for adequate funding for its preservation and enhancement. Thank you for considering our feedback.

Sincerely,
Ann Ryan
merriwaparkgardensgroup@gmail.com
Merriwa Park and Gardens Group

Ann Ryan 12 days ago

Project 365 emerged from an individual's personal struggle with mental health and the desire to rid the stigma and start a conversation. Through the power of music, we aim to destigmatise mental health, foster resilience and unite our regional town through awareness and support.

Our annual event is an awe-inspiring concert that consists of 18 people, all local musicians in a family friendly, twilight event with children’s entertainment, food stalls and music. Families are allowed to bring a picnic basket to alleviate food/drink costs and ensure a broader reach as an entertainment option within the community.

We currently fundraise via the below channels:

1. Social media, television, radio, print and utilising our local business connections.
2. Community engagement programs where we visit schools, clubs and businesses and present on mental health awareness.
3. Partnering with local businesses who sponsor Project 365 with a percentage of proceeds being donated back.
4. Local council for assistance with the venue and ancillary support (OHS, facilities management, marketing and promotion).
5. Marketing to major businesses within the region.

However, our greatest promotion has been the power of word of mouth, which is extremely apparent in country communities and evidenced over the last two years with the number of people attending the performance. Our 2021 show had 420 people attend, our 2023 show 2000 people and we are aiming for 3000 at our next performance on the 22nd of February 2025 at the Wangaratta Rodeo Grounds. We have also taken on board key learnings from the 2023 event and will be expanding pre-entertainment, extending the event by 1-hour and greater activities for children.

After operational costs, funds raised go directly into an Into Our Hands Project 365 Sub-fund, which will be distributed under the direction of an independent panel with regulated funding controls. Our focus will be supporting community building projects across multiple cohorts but with a focus on delivering Mental Health First Aid training within the community. Our goal is that every business in Wangaratta has access to this free training.

Examples of 2023 operational costs are listed below:

$10,000- Security for the event.
$15,000- Audio and lighting for the event.
$12,000- Screens for the event.
$28,000- Stage and tent hire for the event.
$10,000- Toilet Hire, Marquees, Tables, Chairs for the event.

Financial assistance with operational costs would directly impact the wider community by allowing more donations and all tickets sales to go directly to our sub-fund to then be
distributed. We know that communities prosper when the mental health needs of community members are met and unaddressed mental health problems can directly lead to homelessness, poverty, long term unemployment, safety, and impacting the local economy.

We also know that remoteness and decreased access to health services in regional towns, tragically sees greater levels of self-harm and suicide. Every dollar that we secure to help with fixed costs prior to the performance enables our Board and incredible volunteers to focus on the event and making it an even greater success. It is this capacity to reach the wider community through education and awareness that is difficult to quantify as we are creating generational change.

We know from our last performance the impact that we have had in the local community of Wangaratta and surrounds which was evidenced by Project 365 being awarded the Event of the Year at the Australia Day Award Ceremony in 2024. However, we also recognise that in order to continue this vital initiative and expand on our efforts, we need the support of the Rural City of Wangaratta and thank you for the opportunity to make this submission.

Cynthia Andrews 28 days ago
Page last updated: 05 Jun 2024, 05:37 PM