Maribyrnong City Council puts rate increase on hold

Published on 21 July 2020


After a comprehensive community consultation process, Maribyrnong City Council will have a 0 per cent rate increase for the 2020-21 financial year with the adoption of the Annual Budget and Strategic Resource Plan by Council on Tuesday 21 July.

Council had the opportunity to take up a 2 per cent increase to rates (in line with the rate cap set by the government), however given the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the community, the decision was made to implement a 0 per cent increase.

The Annual Budget of $149.7 million will continue to deliver over 60 services for the community, while also committing to a robust capital program valued at $52.241 million.

A total of $2.5 million will be provided in support packages for residents and businesses facing financial hardship due to the pandemic and the Pensioner Rate Rebate Scheme will be increased by 2 per cent from $194.30 to $198.20.

Mayor, Cr Sarah Carter said:

"We understand the devastating financial impact this global pandemic is having on members of our community and many of our local businesses. By setting a rate increase of zero per cent for the 2020-21 financial year and providing $2.5m in COVID-19 relief packages, we hope to alleviate some of the financial pressures faced in the coming months.

"This is a budget that is both future focussed and responsive to the community, allowing much needed support for the community while ensuring we continue to provide essential services plus a robust capital works program. As the economy contracts it is important that we continue to invest in stimulus measures such as the infrastructure projects that our fast growing community needs.

"Council is committed to continuing to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on our community and responding accordingly. We will continue to look for ways to support the community during the Coronavirus pandemic."

COVID-19 Relief: Community and Business Packages ($2.5m) includes:

  • A COVID-19 Financial Hardship Policy which will allow all ratepayers experiencing financial hardship to apply for an interest free payment plan or to defer their rates without penalty interest for a period up until 30 June 2021.
  • Deferral of quarterly rate payments (May and September) for businesses and residents. Additionally for businesses, the May quarterly payment was discounted by 50 per cent. Commercial tenants of Council owned properties affected by COVID-19 received a 50 per cent discount on rent up until June 2020.
  • Waiving a range of planning application fees for small businesses starting up before 30 September 2020.
  • Not-for-profit community rental payments have been waived until 30 September 2020.
  • Kinder central enrolment fees have been waived until the end of 2020.
  • Pet registration fees will also be waived/reimbursed for affected residents.
  • To support our local arts community, we have introduced a number of initiatives, including grants (upon application) for not-for-profit community arts organisations and Maribyrnong based arts practitioners, along with rental subsidies.
  • To support not-for-profit community sporting clubs, all lease, licence and ground fees will be waived until 31 December 2020, and utility and water fees will be waived until 30 September 2020.

Some of the key capital projects for 2020-21 include:

  • $12.535 million for parks, open space and streetscapes in capital and improvement works including the planting of trees in streets, boulevards, and parks across the City
  • $12.721 million to improve Council-owned roads across the City
  • $3.060 million to build and improve footpath and cycle ways
  • $1.791 million for recreational, leisure and community facilities
  • $650,000 for off street carparks and other infrastructure
  • $639,000 in waste management
  • $320,000 for city amenity
  • $80,000 for an update to the Footscray City Edge Masterplan
  • $100,000 in street furniture repair and replacement
  • $120,000 for additional drainage maintenance
  • $100,000 for the installation of green street lights

Other highlights include:

  • Provision of a new Community Arts Grants Program for projects run by arts organisations in the City of Maribyrnong, totalling $300,000.

Other initiatives:

  • Sons and Daughters of the West: $70,000
  • Youth after School Initiative Braybrook: $33,000
  • Leaders of the Pack: $12,000

Council Plan Actions for the financial year 2020/21 are aligned to the annual Budget. The Major Initiatives for 2020/21 includes:

  • RecWest Footscray redevelopment
  • Maribyrnong Aquatic Centre design
  • NeXt Project action plan
  • Climate Emergency Plan preparation
  • Healthy and Active framework development
  • Bicycle infrastructure implementation
  • Volunteer strategy update
  • Inclusive Cities framework
  • Local Government general election and induction
  • Footscray Activity Centre review
  • Highpoint Activity Centre infrastructure plan
  • Draft Development Contribution Plan for the City
  • Footscray Smart City for social cohesion program
  • Paisley Streetscape improvements
  • Traffic Management plan key actions
  • Towards Zero Waste Strategy implementation

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