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Council Wins $13.54 Million in Funding and Extends Fee Relief in 2020-2021 Budget

Friday, 7 August, 2020 - 14:45

Mansfield Shire Council will receive $13.544million in funding during the 2020 – 2021 financial year with the most recent announcement being $591,592 for the re-sheeting of gravel roads through the Australian government’s Local Road and Community Infrastructure Fund.

Mansfield Shire Mayor, Cr Marg Attley OAM said the total funding increase, 66% more than in the last financial year, will make a significant difference in the community through economic activity.

“We know the impacts of the bushfires in January and COVID-19 have seriously affected our businesses and residents’ circumstances,” Cr Attley said.

“The submissions we received on our draft Budget made it clear that the community needs support for a longer period than our rates assistance program and we have a role to support them during this difficult time. Therefore, we have made considerable changes to our Budget to offer that support by extending relief on some fees for 12 months,” she said.

“We estimate the fee relief we are offering will be worth about $180,000. This does not include the cost of rate assistance.

Council will extend existing rate payment assistance arrangements to 31 December 2020. This includes a waiver of interest incurred on outstanding rates from 16 March 2020, a hold on debt recovery procedures for outstanding rates, and the opportunity to request a payment plan or payment deferral arrangement.

Council agreed to provide a 12 month waiver to a number of fees and charges across various categories including:

  • local laws permits for businesses and trading,
  • hire of Council facilities,
  • environmental health registrations and permits,
  • the community shopping bus and
  • permits for works within a road reserve.

“Many of the fees we are waiving will directly reduce costs for some businesses – not having to pay fees for permits for street trading and environmental health registrations, for example in food and hospitality businesses. And individuals and businesses who need rate relief will now have that extended to the end of the year,” she said.

Cr Attley said the most recent funding allowed Council to reallocate $100,000 to a new Outlying Communities Infrastructure Grants Program.

“The program was a suggestion in community submissions on the draft Budget. It will be available for community-led minor infrastructure projects. Council is developing the program criteria and more information will be available soon,” she said.

While Council typically delivers a capital works program of about $5-6million annually, it has endorsed a $15million capital works program for 2020 - 2021, of which $7.3million is from grants.

“There will be a lot of projects underway which will create and support local jobs, this will be good for the local economy.

One of these is Council’s commitment to renovate the Mechanics Institute building at a cost of $173,000 which will renew the building that is leased to the Mansfield Kindergarten. It is part of a bigger redevelopment for which the Kindergarten received $600,000 in funding.

“This is an exciting development for our families,” Cr Attley said.

Families, both those that live in the Shire and those that visit, will also enjoy the playground designed for the Botanic Park.

“The community contributed to the final design with a budget of $667,000 for which Council hopes to obtain $417,000 in grants.  We recently announced the first successful grant of $250,000 from the Victorian Government’s 2020-21 Local Sports Infrastructure Fund and we look forward to hearing the results of other applications we have made,” she said.

Council has also received funds from four significant funding programs in the areas of Community and Business Bushfire Recovery totalling $1.06million.

Rate increases have been capped at 2% in line with the Victorian Government’s Fair Go Rates System.

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Last Updated: Friday, 7 August, 2020 - 14:44