The Rural Council of Benalla will start the 2022/23 financial year in a position of strength thanks to the reduction of salary costs and the external financing of capital works.
Council chief executive Dom Testoni said the 2022/23 budget, passed by the council on Wednesday, June 29, forecast a surplus of $1.529 million.
“Our cash position over the life of the budget remains positive and allows us to invest in the years to come for continued growth while resolving legacy issues,” Mr. Testoni said.
“The $1.5 million surplus, however, is largely due to the receipt of $7.644 million in capital grant income from state and federal governments.
“Increased external support from other levels of government will be needed to ensure the long-term financial sustainability of the rural town of Benalla and similarly sized councils across Victoria.
“Total employee costs are expected to decrease 14% from $14.197 million to $12.138 million, primarily due to the retirement of the Elderly and Disability Services Board and the termination of the Working for Victoria “.”
The budget includes capital works of $16.053 million.
The work includes $2.821 million on roads, $420,000 on bridges and $600,000 on trails.
The drainage works total $948,000, $170,000 is allocated to a playground renewal program and $100,000 to the construction costs of a dog park.
Benalla Mayor Bernie Hearn said that following extensive community consultation, several initiatives were added to the budget.
“These include the phased design of the redevelopment of the Benalla Indoor Leisure Centre, the development of concept plans to link the station precinct to the Benalla CBD, the development of a diversification plan Economic and Environmental Strategy Review and Climate Change Adaptation Plan 2013-2025,” Cr Hearn said.
Base rate revenue for the period will increase by 1.75% in accordance with the state government’s Fair Go Rates system, while waste management fees will increase by 5%.
The board also adopted its 10-year financial plan at Wednesday’s meeting.