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Council seeks input on draft plan

Benalla Rural City is seeking community feedback on the draft review of its Council Plan 2013-2017.

MONIQUE FREER April 30, 2014 3:25am

Community feedback is being sought by Benalla Rural City on the draft review of its Council Plan 2013-2017 following its presentation at a special meeting of council last Wednesday.

The draft review shows significant progress on several council projects such as the Civic Precinct Revitalisation Project and Benalla Town Hall improvements.

However, the updated Strategic Resource Plan 2013-2017 — incorporated in the council plan — still indicates an increase in rates for Benalla and district residents during the next four years.

The draft review is required each year by the Local Government Act and reports progress around all the activities outlined in the plan which was adopted last year, as well as suggesting any necessary adjustments to it and the Strategic Resource Plan.

Benalla Rural City Mayor Barbara Alexander said the plan highlighted council’s aim to have several projects under way by the end of 2017.

‘‘As well as all of the exciting things that have happened, the council is also on track to develop projects to ‘shovel-ready’ status by the end of the Council Plan, such as the redevelopment of the Aquatic Centre and the Visitor Information Centre,’’ Cr Alexander said.

Several proposed new actions have been added to the council plan, including the establishment of a council Youth Advisory Committee, the development of plans and strategies to encourage people to walk and cycle to work and for recreation, and the establishment of a Benalla Art Gallery master plan.

The Strategic Resource Plan was reviewed in line with these objectives, which forecasted revenue from rates and charges would remain unchanged at a maximum increase of five per cent per year for the life of the council plan.

However, council resolved that as the 2014-15 budget was yet to be determined, the proposed increase in 2014-15 rates and charges revenue may be reduced.

The draft review also forecast a projected increase of $500000 in new loans to part-fund works at the landfill site.

Further, total employee costs were projected to increase by five per cent, which included a part-time contracts and procurement officer, a grant-funded part-time Resilient Communities co-ordinator and a grant-funded part-time rural access worker.

‘‘We are keen to hear any feedback that the community has about the review of both the Council Plan and Strategic Resource Plan,’’ Cr Alexander said.

‘‘When we send out a document for consultation, it isn’t the finished product. People’s comments are welcome and will be considered.’’

Members of the public are being asked to comment on the reviews and have until Wednesday, May 28 to make a written submission.

The draft review can be downloaded from council’s website at www.benalla.vic.gov.au or a copy obtained from the Customer Service Centre at 1 Bridge St East, Benalla.

People can put their submission in writing to Benalla Rural City Council, PO Box 227 Benalla, 3671, or send it via email to council@benalla.vic.gov.au

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