Mitchell Shire Council has released its $97.76 million 2020/21 draft budget for public consultation with funding for sealed roads, footpaths and free outdoor pools included.

Rates will rise 2 per cent, in line with the State Government’s mandated cap, waste charges will increase 8.6 per cent and, on average, council’s fees and charges will be lifted by 2.5 per cent.

The creation of the draft budget was assisted by council’s Your Budget Mix last year, which received more than 200 responses.

More than $32 million is proposed for council’s capital works program, with $24.28 million in new works and $7.83 million in carry forward works.

Included in the capital works program is $5.28 million for roads and bridges; $4.8m for parks, open spaces and streetscapes; $2.92m for recreation, leisure and community facilities; $2.1m for buildings; $1m for waste management; $981,000 for information technology; $895,000 for footpath and cycleways; and $180,000 for library book renewals.

About $4.88 million has been set aside for new projects to be delivered in the next financial year.

Funding to council outdoor pools means the free entry program continues next summer, and council will focus on its township beautification and reviewing Mitchell Open Space Strategy.

Council will also consider any measures for coronavirus response or potential impacts on operations before the budget is adopted.

The federal and state governments have advised they will delay their budget, which council believes could impact its revenue.

But by law, the council must adopt its budget by June 30.

Council will continue to call for formal submissions to the draft budget and if major changes are required due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they will be considered during the next stage of the budget adoption process.

Mitchell Shire Mayor David Lowe said the Your Budget Mix consultation was an important tool in formulating the draft budget.

“We are more financially stable now and that has been a focus of this council. This budget is another step in the right direction,” he said.

“I urge our community to read over these documents for themselves and understand what we are trying to achieve in 2020/21.

“This is the last budget for this council, and I am incredibly proud of the improvements we have made in this space.”

The draft budget is open for public comment until April 22, and a special budget hearings meeting will be on May 4.

For more information or to provide input, visit www.engagingmitchellshire.com.