City budget focuses on jobs, business and growth

Wednesday, 29 July 2020

Following a challenging end to the 2019/20 financial year, City of Bunbury’s 2020/21 Budget focuses on the creation of jobs, business and growth.

Bunbury City Council on Tuesday night adopted the $86.1 million budget based on a zero per cent rate increase.

Along with the zero per cent increase, the budget has been put together with a freeze on Council fees and charges and a review of the City’s operational finances and planned capital and operating initiatives in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The budget comprises $32.4 million in capital works, $51.7 million of operating expenditure and $2 million in debt reduction.

Major projects across the next 12 months include the design and construction of the Youth Precinct, construction of the Hay Park Central Pavilion, replacement of the Forrest Park Pavilion stage one and upgrades to Halifax Business Park infrastructure.

The City will deliver a number of projects to drive growth and improvements through responsible loan borrowings of $8.1 million during a period of very low interest rates, combined with using $8.5 million from cash reserves.

Projects to be funded through loan borrowings include:

  • Youth Precinct ($6 million)
  • Hay Park Central Pavilion ($950,000)
  • Forrest Park Pavilion ($450,000)
  • Paths ($450,000)
  • Athletics Track Surface replacement ($300,000)

Bunbury Mayor Gary Brennan said it was important the City continued to move forward, despite the current economic climate.

“Bunbury, along with the rest of the world, has experienced one of the most socially and economically challenging times in our history over the past six months,” Mayor Brennan said.

“But we are resilient and the City’s latest budget, through responsible loan borrowing and modest reserve fund reductions, will drive growth and jobs in Bunbury.

“It means that over the next 12 months the City will be able to maintain the level of services our community expects while balancing those expectations with what the community can afford.”

Other highlights of the budget include:

  • Community safety initiatives including crime prevention programs, street lighting and CCTV;
  • Upgrades to Halifax Business Park infrastructure;
  • Implementation of the CBD Action Plan;
  • Replacing playground equipment;
  • Plan and design of Hands Oval redevelopment;
  • South West Sports Centre redevelopment concept design plans.