Whitehorse City Council

Proposed Budget 2018/19

Overview

The $201 million Proposed Budget 2018/19 was adopted at the Ordinary Council Meeting on Monday 23 April 2018.

The Proposed Budget 2018/19 provides $201 million of funding to enable the ongoing delivery of high quality services and the renewal and improvement of community facilities and infrastructure for the benefit of the Whitehorse community.

The net cost of services delivered to the community for the 2018/19 year is expected to be $78.92 million. Refer to section 2 for a list of services, major initiatives and initiatives provided by Council, aligned with its Council Plan strategic directions. These services include 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 services at a level expected by the community.

Please find a copy here of the pdf icon Proposed Budget 2018/19 (2.82MB)

Hard copies of the Proposed Budget 2018/19 can be viewed at Council’s Customer Service Centres at Nunawading, Box Hill and Forest Hill, and libraries at Nunawading, Box Hill, Blackburn and Vermont South.

Rates

The Proposed Budget includes an average rate increase of 2.25% in line with the rate cap set by the Minister for Local Government under the Fair Go Rates System.

This cap is based on the Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance’s forecast movement in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the 2018/19 financial year.

Capital Works

This Proposed Budget provides for a $64.20 million Capital Works Program in 2018/19 including $15.62 million to complete the redevelopment of the Harrow Street Box Hill car park, $13.00 million to continue the development of the Nunawading Community Hub, and $3.00 million to progress the redevelopment of the Whitehorse Centre.

The 2018/19 Capital Works Program includes $40.73 million funding for the renewal and upgrade of Council assets to ensure that community facilities and infrastructure are maintained in a sustainable manner. This includes $19.83 million for the renewal and improvement of buildings It also includes $4.57 million for roads, $3.50 million for parks, open space and streetscapes and $2.82 million for footpaths and cycleways.

Consultation

The Proposed Budget has been carefully prepared, guided by the priorities outlined in key strategic documents including the Council Vision 2013-2023, the current four year Council Plan, and other major plans and strategies. Community consultation is an essential component of the budget process. In late 2016, Council held an extensive Your Say, Whitehorse community consultation campaign to inform the development of the current Council Plan 2017-2021, which drives the focus of activities planned for the 2018/19 year. Other consultations influencing the Proposed Budget include consultations held as part of the development and review of key Council strategies and plans, and a Mayoral Budget Consultation event held in February 2018.

Budget Principles

The following budget principles were established to guide the 2018/19 budget process:

  • Manage operational expenditure growth to within the rates cap to preserve and maintain operational flexibility and the current capital works 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 sourcing.

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 increase will rise by 2.25% in 2018/19 in line with the order by the Minister for Local Government in December 2017 under the Fair Go Rates System
  • Negotiations are underway with Council’s recycling collection service provider resulting from the impact of China’s importation ban on recyclable materials, which may result in an increased cost for recycling collection services.
  • Significant price increases are expected for gas and electricity consumption from July in line with current market rates.
  • 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 2.25% increase in the State Government landfill levy to an anticipated cost of $64.70 per tonne, representing a 619% increase over the past ten years.
  • Increasing community expectations for Council to be a leader in environmental sustainability
  • Continuing low interest rates in the short to medium term restricting Council’s ability to generate earnings on cash and investments; and
  • Enterprise Agreement wage increase of 2.3% or $26 per week, whichever is greater effective from September 2018.

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.

Have your say

Council is inviting residents, businesses and community organisations to make a submission on Council’s Proposed Budget 2018/19.

Written submissions must be lodged by Sunday 27 May 2018. Submissions should be addressed to: Chief Executive Officer, Whitehorse City Council, Locked Bag 2, Nunawading DC Vic 3131 in envelopes marked ‘Budget Submission’. Submissions may also be emailed to; mailto:Annual.Budget@whitehorse.vic.gov.au

Submitters will be identified in a report to Council and this information will become part of the public record. Anyone not wanting to be identified should say so in their submission

People are invited to speak to their submissions at a meeting of the Special Committee of Council to be held on Tuesday 12 June 2018 at 8pm in the Council Chamber, Whitehorse Civic Centre, 379-397 Whitehorse Road, Nunawading. Anyone who wishes to speak to their submission should indicate this in their submission

Councillors will consider adoption of the Proposed Budget 2018/19 at the Ordinary Council Meeting on Monday 25 June 2018.

Enquiries should be directed to the Head of Finance and Corporate Performance, Stuart Cann on 9262 6313.