‘Healthy cash flow’ expected for borough

The Murray Road and the Point Lonsdale Bike Park are just some of the funded projects featured in the Borough of Queenscliffe’s proposed 2024-25 budget.

The borough held its community budget presentation and asked the public to share their thoughts on what projects should be prioritised on Wednesday, February 7.

Financial services coordinator Jodie Hunt said the borough aimed to achieve a financially sustainable and operational break-even result each year.

“We have a healthy cash flow and have been increasing our general reserve. We’re debt-free, have no borrowings, and maintain our asset renewal above standard,” she said.

“Rather than utilising funds from our general reserve to pay for our day-to-day operations, which would indicate a debt problem, our general reserve has been increasing its balance each year.

“We spend on average $1.7 million on capital projects and new operating initiatives, including $900,000 on asset renewal works.”

Ms Hunt said the borough’s cash operating expenses could be “split into three buckets” of government obligation, government agreements and council discretion.

“63 per cent of our cash spend include services that council are obligated to deliver through legislative requirements,” she said.

“(This includes) road maintenance, street lighting, waste management, administration of state and local planning schemes and maintenance of our public places.

“25 per cent of our cash spend are for services that council delivers under a formal agreement with other tiers of government, like aged and family services, coastal protection and crown land management.

“12 per cent is for services that council decide to deliver in response to an identified community need like tourism and business support, community development, environment, and sustainability.”

Mayor Isabelle Tolhurst said the 2024-25 budget would allocate funding to a “high level of projects” across the borough.

This included the Murray Road project, Point Lonsdale Bike Park, signage audit, Golightly Park, local events sponsorship, Hesse Street roundabouts, Public Toilet Strategy and Climate Emergency Response Plan.

“Completing the missing link between the Bellarine Rail Trail along Murray Road will lead to improved safety outcomes for all users,” she said.

“The Point Lonsdale Bike Park would enable riders to have a safe location for all ages and abilities. It would also stop people from using native and specialised vegetation areas for unreasonable bike riding.”

The 2024-25 budget survey is open until February 23 at surveymonkey.com/r/K3M2F5N, with the draft budget available for feedback until April 24.