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By Casey Neill

The average Greater Dandenong ratepayer will pay about $71 extra next year, according to the council’s draft 2018-’19 budget.

Councillors voted to put the proposal out for public feedback for 28 days at their Monday 23 April meeting.

They’ll make a final decision at their Tuesday 12 June meeting.

The headline project in the $58 million capital works program is the Springvale Civic Precinct.

There’s $18.5 million allocated to start construction, which is due for completion by December next year.

The draft budget also includes $1 million to design the Keysborough South community hub, on top of $3 million already set aside for land.

The Thomas P Carroll Reserve pavilion is pegged for a $2 million overhaul, the Dandenong Park makeover would continue with $1.5 million and Robert Booth Reserve would receive floodlighting in an $815,000 plan.

The budget proposes $200,000 in CCTV for the Brady Road shopping precinct, $5.56 million in road resurfacing and reconstruction, and just over $1 million for new library resources.

Cr Matthew Kirwan also highlighted cash to continue Walker Street and Springvale Road beautification works, put solar panels on the Dandenong Civic Centre, build a cycle path on Hammond Road, and design an all-abilities playground.

He welcomed $46,200 for a tribute to the Greater Dandenong Living Treasures and $22,200 towards a book celebrating the City of Greater Dandenong’s 25th anniversary.

Corporate services director Mick Jaensch said an increase in recycling costs added about $2.5 million to the overall council budget.

Ratepayers will fork out an extra 16 per cent or $53 to recover the cost.

The budget report said the council’s recycling contract “has been immediately impacted by the National Sword Policy implemented by China’s Customs on 1 January 2018, which aims to restrict the import of contaminated paper, cardboard and plastics”.

Engineering services director Julie Reid said there was no planned interruption to the council’s household recycling service.

“Our service is operating business as usual and we continue to encourage our residents to recycle,” she said.

The Local Government Minister determined that the rate rise for the 2018-‘19 financial year for councils across the state would be capped at the forecast rate of inflation of 2.25 per cent.

The cap is on the total amount of rates that the council can collect.

Each individual increase will depend on any change in property value since the previous valuation.

Greater Dandenong property values increased about 25 per cent in past two years.

Properties that rose by less than this figure would attract a lower rate increase, and those with a greater rise would have a higher rate increase.

The increase for the median residential valued property will be 5.50 per cent, including the waste charge increase.

That’s $71.15 for the year, or $1.37 cents per week.

The draft budget report said the council was confident it could continue to manage rate-capping this year, but it would become more difficult.

“Particularly as the delivery of new facilities such as the Springvale Community Precinct add considerable costs to the council’s operational budgets without the ability to offset this via increased rates,” it said.

“These projects…also create an additional maintenance requirement going forward increasing operational costs into the future.”

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