In this spring edition of myBallarat, we check in with two of Ballarat’s biggest tourist attractions, the Ballarat Wildlife Park and Sovereign Hill, to see how they have approached the challenges of the past six months and what role local residents can play in helping to rebuild our visitor economy.
As the interim CEO, I am aware the City of Ballarat will play a major leadership role in delivering an important economic stimulus in the days and months ahead.
As such, this edition also has a focus on the City of Ballarat’s 2020–21 Budget.
Throughout this edition, you’ll discover budget facts that detail just how much we are investing to maintain $1.7 billion in council assets, such as roads, drains, bridges, footpaths and community facilities, and to deliver more than 80 services for residents and visitors.
In this budget, we have quickly adapted to the vastly changed economic circumstances facing many residents as a result of the pandemic.
For 2020–21, there will be a zero rate increase and a zero increase in fees and charges.
While the budget forecasts a $20 million shortfall in cash, largely through the impact of facility closures and an unexpected rate revenue drop, we will not let this affect our service provision or the quality of the frontline community services we deliver.
The budget features our major project commitments, including $15 million over three years towards revitalising the Bridge Mall and Bakery Hill precinct.
It invests $1.9 million over two years towards the Ballarat Library’s first major refurbishment since it opened in 1994 and $3.5 million over four years for energy efficient LED street lighting.
It also allocates $500,000 annually to deliver our municipality’s largest tree planting program with the planting of 25,000 trees in our streets and reserves.
Our community will continue to face challenges presented by the pandemic. I am confident Ballarat will meet those challenges with courage, compassion and creativity as we look ahead to our city’s social, environmental and economic recovery.
Stay safe and stay well.
Chief Executive Officer