Macedon Ranges Council Budget

The annual budget needs to better reflect the needs of our community

Macedon Ranges 2020 Budget

The high point of the MRSC 2020 budget is $1.1 million allocated for community & Business covid assistance. This means $10.46 million (decrease $0.1m) will be allocated to various new capital expenses.  The MRSC has also implemented and average 2% increase for all residents which appears to be a bit of robing Peter to pay Paul.

The budget is a bit more than just rates, rubbish & roads, in fact the State government has made the council responsible for much more, whilst not providing adequate funding, as the state government spends our taxes on protecting us from Covid and special Belt & road initiatives.  From time to time, our state member will provide a handout that strategically aligns with the need for votes.

The council budget strategy is as follows and for the most part I think we have a good plan and the following will help you understand where our rates go:

Promote Health and Wellbeing: We want Macedon Ranges residents to be mentally and physically healthy and active.

Protect the Natural Environment: We want to lead by example and improve environmental outcomes in all aspects of life.

Improve the Built Environment: We want to manage infrastructure in a sustainable and efficient way that supports the delivery of services to our residents and visitors, now and into the future.

Enhance the Social and Economic Environment: We want to encourage and support the social and economic development of the shire

Deliver Strong and Reliable Government: We want our community to have confidence in the way we govern and make decisions

But what is in the $1.1million allocated for covid assistance?

  • Provide support to organizations delivering critical emergency.  Well, Okay!
  • Defer application of late fees.  Not sure if this saves anyone that much!
  • Provide support to local business via an enquiry service regarding support and via the provision of a confidential telephone counselling assistance program.
  • Programs that provide online sessions with industry experts, develop skills, exchange idea forums, networking and identification of opportunities, seek feedback on how we can help via a survey, streamline business permit processes and a buy local campaign. I see a lot here, but it does not say anything!
  • Provision of additional funding for Council’s existing grant programs in 2020/21 including Small Project Grants, Community Funding Scheme and the Events and Festival Grants which specifically look to support recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. What business really needs is to get back to work! 
  • Waiver of goods on footpaths Local Law permit renewal fees for existing Roadside and Footpath Trading permit holders for twelve months and a 50% waiver on health permit renewals for the first 6 months of 2021 for existing business with current permits.

I am not sure there is $1.1 million worth of services here.  What our community needed was not implementing the 2% rate increase.  Whilst I was the only candidate that challenged this rate increase, many were left frustrated seeing the budget used on consultancy fees to create complex proposals such as Gisborne futures.

Let me know what you think.

My 2020 budget submission on the 2% rates rise: