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Mitchell Shire Council Budget addresses population growth

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Jordyn Grubisic
Jordyn Grubisic
Jordyn Grubisic is a senior journalist for the North Central Review primarily covering politics at all levels and sport with a particular interest in basketball. Since 2019 she has worked for several publications across Victoria including most recently at the Alexandra Standard and Yea Chronicle. She is always keen to hear from local community members about issues they face and has an interest in crime and court reporting.

Mitchell Shire Council will spend $5 million on a list of community centres and $14.47 million on roads and bridges as part of its $167 million 2023-24 Budget.

Redeveloping Kilmore Senior Citizens Centre, Pyalong Kindergarten and Maternal Health Centre, Wandong Community Centre, and upgrades to RB Robson Stadium Wallan and Broadford’s Family and Children’s Centre are on the council’s agenda in 2023-24. All projects are being jointly funded with the State Government, who is providing $3.3 million in grant funding.

Council endorsed its Budget at a special council meeting on Monday, May 29, aiming to address the challenges posed by the projected tripling of the shire’s population in the next 20 years.

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Mitchell Shire remains the fastest growing local government area in Victoria, and by 2041, more than 175,000 people are expected to live in Mitchell Shire.

Ratepayers face a rate rise of 3.5 per cent, as per the State Government’s cap on rate increases in 2023-24.

Individual rate bills will be affected by the State Government’s annual property revaluations.

Full-service garbage charge will increase 4.5 per cent to $514 and the optional extra recycling charge will increase by $10 to $224.

Council employee costs will increase by 12.54 per cent, equating to $4.51 million, from the 2022-2023 forecast. Council forecasts it will employ 419 full-time equivalent staff in 2023-24.

The council has forecast spending $1.2 million on footpaths and cycleways, as well as $3 million on recreational, leisure and community facilities such as the works on the lower oval at Greenhill Reserve, Wallan, and investigating an upgrade at Kilmore Leisure Centre.

Mitchell Shire Mayor Fiona Stevens said council planned to allocate nearly $240 million over the next four years, including $25.6 million in new projects in 2023-24.

“We are committed to providing the necessary resources to meet the needs of our growing community and maintain the high quality of life that our residents expect. This budget reflects our dedication to their wellbeing and a well-planned future,” she said.

“I’d like to sincerely thank the Victorian Government and the Federal Government for partnering with us to deliver many of the projects we have planned, we simply couldn’t fund them on our own at this stage in our population growth cycle.”

The Budget also includes $2.6 million for upgrades to parks, open spaces and streetscapes, with projects at Kings Park playspace in Seymour, Ryans Creek Reserve in Kilmore, and the Wallan central cycle and nature trail, in partnership with the State Government.

Cr Stevens said the budget was developed in consultation with the community, gathering valuable feedback earlier this year and through the year-round project input process.

“We’ve had great community input over the last few years including recent budget submissions, which help shape the current and future projects, both big and small, right throughout the shire,” she said.

“We work hard to develop a budget that meets priority needs across the shire and to help our community achieve their 2050 Community Vision.

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