The Shire of Augusta Margaret River announced the adoption of a 2019-20 budget at last week's council meeting, with a 2.5 per cent increase to rates and reductions in waste collection and disposal charges for ratepayers.
In a statement released after the meeting, the shire said the budget adoption would clear a path for the completion of several key community infrastructure projects within the financial year.
"The Margaret River HEART building is nearing completion, paving the way for more community group activations, functions, events, and arts and culture opportunities," the statement read. The Main Street Upgrade project will start in October, providing for improved driver and pedestrian safety, drainage, accessibility, town site activation and vibrancy."
Other projects to receive funding support for the year include Wadandi track extension works, construction of an accessible walkway from Flinders Bay to Cape Leeuwin, completion of Cowaramup Hall upgrades, new toilets in Cowaramup Pioneer Park, asbestos removal and reinstatement works and the upgrade of the Witchcliffe Hall, new chalets at Turner Caravan Park, works to extend the life of the Davis Road Waste Management Facility, and road improvements including Leeuwin Road, Warner Glen Road, Rosa Brook Road, Rosa Glen Road, and Wallcliffe Road.
"In addition to capital works the budget funds various community services and provides for the continued operations of our library services, recreation and aquatic centres, ovals, parks, public toilets and lifeguard services."
The shire said waste disposal fees would be reduced, despite the introduction of the 3 bin waste collection system, and dubbed the 2.5 per cent rate rise "modest".
"I hope that people are pleased with the Council's efforts to really contain expenditure and prioritise the projects and services the community values the most," Shire President Pam Townshend said. "I feel confident there is something in this budget for everyone. We've really focussed on taking a responsible and sustainable approach that sits in alignment with our key goals and strategic plans."
The total operating expenditure is budgeted as $38.145 million, and includes employee expenses, materials, contracts, utilities, interest and depreciation. Rates are projected to attract a $22.124 million revenue, with an additional $12.129 million from fees and charges such as caravan parks income, Recreation Centre memberships and pet registrations.
The shire's total capital works programme for the year is $23.474 million and is funded by grants of $5.433 million, reserve transfers (savings) of $9.967 million, carryover funds and general revenue.
In Busselton, the business community has urged the Busselton council not to impose a 3.95 per cent rate increase when it decides the city's budget next month.
The adopted AMR budget will be made available at amrshire.wa.gov.au
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