The City of Greater Bendigo’s 2023/2024 Budget is focused on delivering community focused projects and services that enhance everyday living.
The adopted Budget is based on a 3.5 per cent increase to the total revenue rate, in line with the Victorian Government’s Fair Go Rates System (FGRS).
Mayor Cr Andrea Metcalf said the rate cap applied to general rates and is calculated based on Council’s average rates and charges.
“As in previous years, Council has not applied for a variation to the rate cap and will absorb increasing costs. Rates make up 60 per cent of the City’s Budget income, an important source of revenue to help deliver the Council Plan, fund affordable services to the community and deliver important larger scale capital works,” Cr Metcalf said.
“This is a responsible and sustainable Budget but we are dealing with increased costs that are significantly higher than the rate cap amount, and this limits revenue available to fund new projects and initiatives.
“In the March 2023 quarter, CPI was at 7 per cent. Whilst this is predicated to decrease over the coming year, it still represents a funding gap for Local Government to manage.
“Over the past two financial years, the difference between rate increases and general inflation represents an approximate funding gap of more than $8.25M.”
Consumer Price Index (CPI) increases to fees have been applied across most City fees. These fee increases are not intended to make up lost revenue from previous years where fees were frozen due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but rather to reinstate annual increases.
“This Budget will see some small increases in fees and charges, which Councillors have carefully considered. The small increases are necessary to adequately service the needs of the community and respond to rising costs,’’ Cr Metcalf said
Waste management charges will see a small rise to cover increased costs for this service. The City does not make a profit from any waste recovery services, which includes general waste, organics and recycling collections, and operating the Eaglehawk landfill and transfer stations. These charges cover the cost of providing these services.
For most properties, the waste charge will increase by $27 per property ($16 for general waste, $5.50 for recycling and $5.10 for organics) in the next financial year.
Parking will see an hourly parking fee change from $1.90 per hour to $2.10 per hour. The daily rate will change from $6.70 to $7.20 (some car park rates will differ).
Parking initiatives in the new financial year will invest in wayfinding technology via an app to assist drivers to locate vacant parking bays in the city centre. More smart parking meters will also be installed.
“Council acknowledges that personal circumstances may impact people’s ability to pay rates and charges. Our Financial Hardship Guidelines have been developed to support residents experiencing financial difficulties. If you need to, please contact Customer Service to discuss payment plan options,” Cr Metcalf said.
To view the adopted Budget and for more information, head to: https://www.bendigo.vic.gov.au/About/Budget