Council’s Proposed Budget 2023-27 was last night endorsed for public exhibition, featuring a strong list of key capital works projects, asset renewal and community initiatives - while maintaining Council’s financial sustainability for Merri-bek’s 174,000 residents.
Mayor Angelica Panopoulos said Council’s proposed budget balances essential services such as road resurfacing and footpath maintenance, with major capital works projects to support the growth of our community.
“We are continuing our commitment to a consistent capital works program that protects community assets such as leisure centres, safe roads and footpaths, parks, playgrounds and other open spaces,” said Cr Panopoulos.
Included in the proposed budget is over $32.1 million towards upgrades for several early-years facilities over the next 5 years including completing Oak Park Kindergarten and Derby Street Children’s Centre,Pascoe Vale in 2023/24. This will deliver more much-needed kindergarten places for the kids of Merri-bek.
“We will also continue the Fawkner Leisure Centre Redevelopment, allocating $36.9 million towards this much-loved community space,” said Cr Panopoulos.
“We know our community want to see footpaths, bicycle paths, roads and other transport infrastructure kept well maintained and safe, we have allocated $4.5 million towards footpaths and roads, and $15.9 million to roads and carparks renewal and maintenance.”
“$20.6 million will go towards parks, open space and streetscapes, $7.2 million is allocated to the construction of the Hosken Reserve redevelopment.”
“This is a challenging economic environment; we know the cost of living pressures are high for our community. The proposed 2023-27 budget continues a focus on core services and infrastructure, while improving services and making innovations where possible.
In November 2022 Council invited the community to suggest ideas for projects and initiatives they would like to see funded in the proposed budget, and from this Council has allocated $278,000 towards a number of initiatives including:
- $80,000 for shade structures program for playgrounds and parks
- $33,000 towards Take the First Step Merri-bek (domestic violence prevention)
- $10,000 for nesting boxes
- Accessible tennis facilities and reserves $100,000
- $50,000 towards drinking fountains in shopping strips
- Increasing bins around parklands $5,000
“Along with all other Merri-bek Councillors, I look forward to working to deliver these valued services and important projects throughout coming years for the benefit of the community.”
The proposed budget includes an average rate rise equal to the rate cap set by the Minister for Local Government on advice of the Essential Services Commission. This will see an average increase in rates of $1.23 per week.
Implementation of the State Government’s new four bin service has seen an increase to the standard residential waste charge of about $0.68 per week.
Community members are invited to make submissions on the draft budget, with consultation closing on 19 May.