Moreland Council’s 4-year 2021-25 budget will deliver key services to Merri-bek’s 188,000 plus residents along with critical major projects to improve the future of Merri-bek and help deliver local jobs.
In 2021-22, a $61.7 million focus on capital works will see the Glenroy Community Hub completed, providing health, early years, youth and community services to the north, along with more parks close to home, investments in our footpaths, bike paths, road and carparks and climate emergency initiatives.
Acting Merri-bek Mayor Cr Mark Riley said that despite the challenges of delivering a budget in the Covid-19 pandemic environment, he was confident the 2021-22 budget struck a balance of benefits for the community and financial sustainability.
“It continues to be a challenging time for many in our community, businesses and individuals alike, with the ongoing impacts of the pandemic,” said Cr Riley.
“Council has experienced significantly decreased revenue in recent times, but we have worked hard to put together a financially responsible budget so that we can deliver our core services while also continuing our ambitious goals for infrastructure, ensuring critical improvements for Merri-bek into the future, as well as responding to the pandemic and looking after our community.”
Cr Riley was also pleased that the expanded budget community engagement program, which started in February 2021 and took place over two stages, saw higher participation rates for the budget than ever before and, for the first time, included receiving submissions to the budget in languages other than English.
“I want to thank the members of our community that took park in our increased community engagement process on this budget,” Cr Riley said.
“After hearing many great ideas from our community, we have been able to include funding for a number of initiatives, including 4-years funding for the Brunswick Beethoven Festival, a Men at Work program to build safer relationships, funding to design the Merri Creek ramp upgrade at Bowden Reserve, additional funding for bus shelters and seating and a graffiti, rubbish, cleaning and dumped rubbish blitz.”
Highlights from the 2021-22 budget include:
- $11 million to complete the $30.1 million Glenroy Community Hub
- $0.5 million for the Urban Forest Strategy tree planting*
- $3.6 million for new parks in dense urban areas including Coburg, Glenroy and Brunswick
- $0.6 million to start the design of the $20.6 million Fawkner Leisure Centre redevelopment
- $6.5 million to start the $11.3 million Fleming Park redevelopment
- $0.4 million for the Zero Carbon Merri-bek Emergency Action Plan*
- $7.1 million for footpaths and bicycle paths
*in addition to existing operational budgets
Council’s 2021-2022 $198.5 million budget, which is delivered within the State Government’s 1.5 per cent rates cap, will provide a surplus of $39.4 million which will allow Council to meet the requirements of loan principal payments and capital infrastructure. After meeting these commitments, $0.3 million will be transferred to reserves to be used in future years expenditure.
Ratepayers experiencing difficulty in paying a debt will be able to contact Council’s Revenue Services Unit to make a payment arrangement to pay off the debt in a reasonable and manageable timeframe.