Whitehorse City Council

Proposed Budget 2017/18

Overview

Whitehorse City Council adopted the $195 million Proposed Budget Council has prepared for the 2017/18 financial year at a Special Council Meeting on 24 April 2017.

Whitehorse Mayor Councillor Denise Massoud said the Proposed Budget 2017/18 provides $140 million for the continued delivery of community services including home and community care, sustainability, waste and recycling, health and family services, leisure facilities, parks and libraries.

“Council will have an operational surplus, and maintain a strong liquidity position, while providing funding for legislated requirements and maintaining all our services at a level the community expects,” Cr Massoud said.

The budget also provides $6.81 million in net operational funding for new strategic initiatives to deliver on our Council Vision and Council Plan.

Rates

For 2017/18 the cap of 2.0% is in line with the forecast movement in the Consumer Price Index and Whitehorse will continue to have one of the lowest levels of rates in metropolitan Victoria

“The Proposed Budget includes an average rate increase of 2.0% in line with the rate cap set by the Minister for Local Government under the Fair Go Rates System,” Cr Massoud said.

Capital Works

Total Capital Works will be $43.13 million, of which $28.62 million will be for the renewal and upgrade of existing community assets. $14.51 million will also be invested in new community assets. Council continues to prioritise funding for the renewal, upgrade and maintenance of our significant community assets.

Key highlights include $5.70 million for the redevelopment of the Harrow Street, Box Hill car park, $4.65 million for new and upgraded community sports pavilions, $1.00 million to commence the redevelopment of the Whitehorse Centre, $0.52 million for the refurbishment of Box Hill Library and $0.20 million to continue development of the new Nunawading Community Hub.

Consultation

The Budget document has been carefully prepared following community consultation throughout the year and is guided by priorities outlined in key strategic documents including the Council Vision 2013-2023, the current four-year Council Plan, Strategic Resource Plan and other major plans and strategies.

Consultations that have informed the development of this Budget include a significant Your Say Whitehorse community engagement program to develop the Proposed Council Plan 2017-2021, the 2016 Community Satisfaction Survey, consideration of prior year public budget submissions, and consultation on various Council strategies and plans.

Councillors and officers also held a number of meetings to develop this fiscally responsible budget and longer term strategic resource plan in a time of significant external and internal pressures and challenges.

Budget Principles

The following budget principles were established to guide the 2017/18 budget process:

  • Manage operational expenditure growth to within the rates cap to preserve and maintain operational flexibility and the current capital program
  • Continued focus on business process improvement, innovation and cost saving initiatives so as to maintain and improve current service delivery standards
  • New budget initiatives require Council approval and a funding source
  • Priority be given to the renewal of existing community infrastructure
  • Additional capital items be considered in the context of the whole capital program and require a funding source or reprioritisation of current funded projects
  • Proceeds from general land sales are held in Council’s development reserve; and
  • Major community infrastructure projects require a Council approved business case that explicitly considers Council’s funding capacity and funding sources.

Further guidelines were prepared and distributed to all Council officers with budget responsibilities setting out the key budget principles upon which the officers were to prepare their budgets. These principles included:

  • Budget program development starts from zero
  • Expenditure increases to be supported by evidence of contractual increase or external and unavoidable price rises
  • All budgets to be supported by detailed justifications including any assumptions; and
  • Continued emphasis on the identification and inclusion of savings, efficiencies or new income streams.

Key Pressures and Challenges

In preparing this Budget, Council considered a number of external and internal influences. These include:

  • The average rate will rise by 2.0% in 2017/18 in line with the order by the Minister for Local Government in December 2016 under the Fair Go Rates System
  • Changing community needs and expectations as a result of an ageing and increasingly culturally diverse population
  • The cost of maintaining Council’s infrastructure assets. This is to ensure that infrastructure assets are provided to support services that are appropriate, accessible, responsive and sustainable to the community
  • Cost shifting by other levels of government. Cost shifting occurs where local government provides a service to the community on behalf of the state or federal governments. Over time, the funds received by Council do not increase in line with real cost increases
  • A further 2.0% increase in the State Government landfill levy to an anticipated cost of $63.27 per tonne, representing a 603% increase over the past nine years
  • Increasing community expectations for Council to be a leader in environmental sustainability
  • Continuing low interest rates restricting Council’s ability to generate earnings on cash and investments; and
  • Enterprise Agreement wage increase of 2.0% or $26 per week, whichever is greater effective from September 2017.

Long-Term Financial Plan

Council’s long-term planning strategy is aimed at creating a sustainable fiscal environment to enable Council to continue to provide the community with high quality services and infrastructure into the medium and long term. The financial plan is a continuation of Council’s responsible financial program. It is a financial plan aimed at:

  • Balancing the community’s needs and ensuring that Council continues to be financially sustainable in the long term
  • Increasing Council’s commitment to sustainable asset renewal and maintenance of the community’s assets
  • The maintenance of a strong cash position for financial sustainability
  • To achieve efficiencies through targeted savings and an ongoing commitment to contain costs
  • Rate and fee increases that are both manageable and sustainable; and
  • Providing a framework to deliver balanced budgets including sustainable annual underlying surpluses.

How to have your say on the Proposed Budget 2017/18

Council has prepared a Proposed Budget for the financial year 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018 in accordance with Section 127 of the Act.

Please find a copy of the pdf icon Proposed Budget 2017/18 (1.62MB) here.

Whitehorse City Council is inviting residents, businesses and community organisations to make a submission on Council’s Proposed Budget 2017/18.

Written submissions must be lodged by Sunday 28 May 2017. Submissions should be addressed to: Chief Executive Officer, Whitehorse City Council, Locked Bag 2, Nunawading DC Vic 3131 in envelopes marked ‘Budget Submission’. Budget submissions may also be emailed to Annual.Budget@whitehorse.vic.gov.au.

Submitters will be identified in a public report to Council on submissions received on the proposed Budget, and this information will become part of the public record. If you do not wish to be identified, please indicate this in your submission.

All submissions will be considered, and if required heard at the Special Committee of Council to be held on Tuesday 13 June 2017 commencing at 8pm in the Council Chamber, Whitehorse Civic Centre, 379-397 Whitehorse Road, Nunawading. A person who has lodged a written submission by the required date may request to be heard in support of their submission, or appoint a person to appear on their behalf, before the Special Committee to hear such submissions. Please indicate in your submission if you wish to speak to your submission or if you wish another person to speak on your behalf.

Council will meet to consider adopting the proposed Budget at its Ordinary Council meeting to be held on Monday 26 June 2017 commencing at 7pm in the Council Chamber, Whitehorse Civic Centre, 379-397 Whitehorse Road, Nunawading. Any person requiring further information concerning the proposed Budget or the submission process should contact the Head of Finance and Corporate Performance on 9262 6313.

The public notice will be available on Saturday, 29 April.