City of Bunbury Council adopted the 2019/20 Budget including a rate increase of 3 per cent at a special meeting last night.
A total of $83.6 million has been allocated to the budget comprising of $28.1 million in capital works, $53.2 million of operating expenditure and $2.3 million in debt reduction.
The rate increase includes 1 per cent for the upgrade and renewal of infrastructure assets.
Major projects will include the Youth Precinct design, construction of the new Splash Park and upgrades to Sykes Foreshore, Stirling Street Arts Centre expansion, improvements to Halifax and installation of a new electronic billboard at the entry to the City.
The budget also recognises workforce plan efficiencies gained through the use of technology and flexible staffing arrangements.
These savings will be transferred into a new reserve to fund the development of strategic projects. From this new reserve $500,000 will be used for the design of the Youth Precinct.
Due to the higher costs associated with recycling, charges will increase by $14 per 240-litre recycling bin.
City of Bunbury Mayor Gary Brennan said a strong focus on business was a feature of this budget which would lead to a stronger community.
Prior to the meeting Mr Brennan said reserves would be around $16 million, describing it as a healthy position to be in.
"We provide for modest growth, we live within our means - I've always had that attitude," he said.
"The biggest consideration of all is what we think is the communty affordability for rate increases, we take all of those factors into consideration.
"Financially we are in a very strong position, we'll finish the year with a modest surplus - we put money into the bank and when we need it we can pull it out of reserve funds.
"No different to a household, we are living within our means, we can't afford to go into too much debt, we can't afford things we can't pay for, so we're living within our means and I think most people can relate to that.
"We're constantly improving our city and of course there will be a significant investment into the central area again, to continue that drive on improving our central business area.
"There will be increased landscaping and we'll start the engineering works on narrowing Blair Street to single lanes."
The Mayor also revealed that plans are currently in the pipeline for a new event next year, which he hopes will be supported by Tourism minister Paul Papalia.
"We'll continue our promotions programs and we're looking at an iconic event next year - this will be something special," Mr Brennan said.
"We've had a hard-working community group and our staff looking at what that could be and that is only probably a couple of months away."
In other news the City of Bunbury and Discovery Holiday Parks officially entered into an agreement to build a community splash park last week.
The City will contribute $700,000 to the $1.7 million project and upgrade the existing Sykes Foreshore playground, providing new amenities. While originally planned to open in late 2019, delays means the splash park won't be complete until 2020.
"This project will bring immense benefit to the City both economically and socially with it activating the area and enticing visitors to the region as well as creating jobs," Mr Brennan said.
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