Monash Council has made the unprecedented decision in its draft Budget to introduce a waiver on Council rates for the 2020/21 financial year as a gesture of support for the Monash community in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Council has made the decision to introduce a waiver on Council rates for the 2020/21 financial year on the grounds of financial hardship under section 171 of the Local Government Act 1989. This means that whilst rates will go up by an average of 2% ratepayers will then be provided with a 10% waiver.
Mayor Stuart James said the decision recognises the impact of COVID-19 on the Monash community and is a gesture of support to those in Monash, including businesses and vulnerable ratepayers, who are impacted by the pandemic, many who now are without jobs.
It applies to all 81,319 ratepayers in Monash.
“It’s a decision that we have been able to make because of prudent financial planning over many years,” Cr James said.
“We are fortunate to have always had a strong focus on ensuring a sound financial position and that has put us in good stead to weather this crisis.”
Monash Council remains the metropolitan council with the lowest rates on a rate per assessment basis and the lowest rates for any council in the State on a per capita basis.
Cr James said the economic and emotional long-term impacts of the crisis were still unknown, but those factors had contributed to Council’s proposed Budget.
“When this crisis began, we promised we would be there for our community during the tough times and during the recovery, and this is as tough as it gets,” Cr James said.
“The most immediate financial assistance we can give our community is to reduce the amount of rates people pay, whilst still being able to maintain our essential services that we know our residents expect.
“Rates contribute to essential Council services like rubbish collection, libraries, maintenance of roads and footpaths, sporting facilities, child immunisation and meals on wheels. We know these are services that are important to the community and we have taken steps to ensure these continue,” he said.
“We will keep our end of the bargain. We will continue to do all we can to deliver the high quality services, projects and initiatives that you expect under these constrained circumstances. We will continue to work together in our partnership of community and council in this great city of Monash.”
Council has secured State and Federal funding as part of the COVID-19 recovery packages to put towards key infrastructure projects.
Projects in the 2020/21 draft Budget include:
- A further $4.57M towards the Oakleigh Recreation and Waverley Gymnastics Centre, including Federal Government funding of $2.39M, external contribution of $750K and Council contributions of $1.44M. The project will completed in 2020 with a total budget of $25.2M
- Various roads reconstruction programs $4.48M, which includes $1.48M external grant funding
- $3.25M to renew Council's footpaths (estimated up to 40,000m²) and $1.2M to address the resurfacing of local roads in keeping with community expectations
- The State Government, through Sport and Recreation Victoria, has committed $2M towards the improvement of eight outdoor netball courts at Jells Park. Detailed design is complete and total project costs including the outdoor courts precinct plan is $2.40M. Council’s contribution to the project is $397K
- $2.25M to continue the design and planning of an Integrated Child & Family Hub at Wellington Kindergarten & Mulgrave Park in year 2. This project will be completed by 2021/22 with a total budget of $4.52M, including $1M in grants from the State Government
- Construction of a multi-sport pavilion at Caloola Reserve $2.01M to complement the completed tennis courts at the site
- $1.92M for construction commencement of the Brentwood Reserve Pavilion; and
- Design and construction of Mulgrave Reserve pavilion will proceed at an estimated cost of $1.80M plus carry forward $150K from last year, including a state grant of $900K.
Council has taken up the option offered by the State Government to delay the introduction of the Budget due to COVID-19. The Budget would normally be adopted by Council at its June meeting. However this year consultation on the draft Budget will take place during July with the proposed Budget to go before the 25 August Council meeting for adoption.
As a result of this change, the delivery of rate notices for the 2020/21 financial year will be delayed until early September 2020. The usual 10 instalment payment plan offered by Council will therefore be reduced to 9 instalments.
Residents are invited to have their say on the draft Budget. Information is available at our website or email firstname.lastname@example.org or mail (PO Box 1, Glen Waverley 3150).
Media Contact: Emily Webb 0466 026 560 or email Emily.Webb@monash.vic.gov.au