Draft 2021/22 budget available for feedback

Published on 20 April 2021

MTH budget

View the Draft Budget 2021-22(PDF, 2MB) and make a submission via Connect Stonnington before 5pm Thursday 20 May 2021.

Mayor and CEO introduction 

2020 and the early months of 2021 were a difficult time for our community, and Council actively redirected resources and attention to where itwere needed most.

We invested over $10 million responding to COVID-19, including: support packages for businesses, fee waivers, outdoor dining, mental health programs, assisting sporting  clubs and local community groups, business and community grants and delivering crucial  programs like early education and maternal child health during lockdown. That support and advocacy continues, with our iconic Prahran Town Hall repurposed to support delivery of up to 1,000 immunisations a day.

As we enter the 2021-22 budget period, Council must continuously work to meet the needs of the current and future residents and businesses of Stonnington.

The number of people who live in Stonnington is growing, in the last five years we have grown by 9,259 residents and 5,486 rateable properties, and we expect this to continue as higher density living increases. This growth is welcome, but places future pressures on our street networks, open spaces, waste and recycling systems and community services. And while many assume Stonnington is only inhabited by a cliché of Toorak and Armadale, we have a significant population who are economically and socially vulnerable and Council is committed to ensuring that support will be available to our diverse community now and into the future.

Council runs more than 40 business units to deliver services that make day-to-day life possible - like roads, open spaces, waste and recycling, sustainability and animal management, and community and economic programs like maternal and child health, libraries, aged services, aquatics, early education, sports and recreation, festivals and events, arts and culture, placemaking and economic development. These teams work together to improve the quality of life and liveability of our neighbourhoods and to fulfil the community defined vision for our city.

Through consultation. our community has helped to shape this budget, ensuring that we are prioritising projects and initiatives that reflect the collective vision of our diverse community.

The Draft Budget(PDF, 2MB) has been very tough to develop because of the current and future financial losses caused by COVID on Council, and also on the social, financial and emotional wellbeing of our businesses, residents and ratepayers. Every area and line item of the budget has been scrutinised to ensure it delivers on the current and future needs and expectations of our community.

By passing a proposed 1.5% rate rise and strengthening our Financial Hardship Policy(PDF, 454KB) we can ensure that assistance is going to those who need it the most, without compromising Council's ability to provide the improvements to services and infrastructure that our community is asking us to deliver.

This Draft Budget continues to provide Stonnington residents one of the lowest rates charges per property value in Melbourne while enabling much needed capital works projects and maintaining services to support our community, allow our local economy to recover and ensure that Stonnington remains an amazing place to be - now and into the future.

Given the damaging impacts of COVID-19 in 2020-21, we commend the proposed budget for 2021-22 as financially responsible, enabling Council to deliver on the strategies of the new Council Plan and with the best interests of our community.

Cr Kate Hely

Jacqui Weatherill
Chief Executive Officer

Providing feedback

View the Draft Budget 2021-22(PDF, 2MB) and make a submission via Connect Stonnington before 5pm Thursday 20 May 2021.

Written submissions received by 5pm Thursday 20 May 2021 will be heard at a Committee meeting at 7pm, Monday 7 June 2021 in the Malvern Town Hall Banquet Hall (subject to COVID-19 public health restrictions and practices).

A final budget will be considered by Council for adoption on Monday 21 June 2021.

Budget highlights

Just as we supported Stonnington through COVID-19 last year, in this draft budget we continue to prioritise recovery but also get back to business as usual through:

  • An even stronger outdoor dining activation program
  • Investment in core infrastructure needs, including roads, footpaths, bridges and drainage works
  • Community building renewal, improvement works and better asset management
  • Increasing investment in our iconic Chapel Street Precinct
  • Improving key community assets like Harold Holt Swim Centre and Prahran Town Hall
  • Implementing our cycling strategy
  • Addressing climate change following Council declaring a climate emergency in February 2020
  • Continuing investment in energy efficiency to reduce Council’s carbon emissions and utility costs
  • Improving our parks and open spaces
  • Modernising our customer experiences through digitisation to meet community needs and expectations
  • Enhancing sporting and recreation facilities, especially for women's sport.

Fiscal sustainability

Maintaining a budget surplus enables us to deliver important capital works programs that provide community infrastructure and help to stimulate our local economy, and the proposed budget for 2021-22 will deliver a responsible surplus of $31.08 million.

This surplus is significantly lower than previous years, highlighting the impact of COVID-19 on Council’s finances and the reality of the significant reduction in revenue that is projected to be felt over the medium term.

The impact of COVID-19 has resulted in a revenue loss of $28.10 million compared to our last complete pre-COVID budget (2018-19). While we are predicting a recovery, it is expected the ongoing impact will result in a further $13.20 million loss in revenue streams over the next four years.

This proposed budget includes a rate rise of 1.5%, which has been determined by the Victorian Government through their rate capping program. This will assist Council to meet our obligations of the community recovery effort and build long-term financial responsibility.

What happened last year?

In response to COVID-19, the City of Stonnington provided all ratepayers with a two per cent rate waiver / concession in the 2020-21 financial year. Like most organisations, COVID-19 has had a major impact on our financial situation, resulting in:

  • Over $10 million invested by Council into measures or strategies to keep people safe from COVID-19 and support local business, and provide relief for residents
  • A loss of $1.89 million as a result of a two per cent rate waiver / concession to all ratepayers
  • A loss of $28.1 million income from areas such as car parking revenue, registrations or user fees at places like our aquatic centres.

This proposed budget reintroduces that two per cent along with this year’s 1.5% increase to:

  • respond to the financial impact of COVID-19
  • establish a platform for Stonnington’s recovery
  • create increased focus on efficiency in the services we deliver
  • provide quality amenity to the people of Stonnington

The average 3.5% increase per household will be $51.66 dollars per annum, or 99 cents per week.

How we stack up

This proposed budget continues to provide Stonnington one of the lowest rates charges per property value in Melbourne, while enabling new capital works projects and maintaining services to support our community, allow our local economy to recover and ensure that Stonnington remains an amazing place to be - now and into the future.

You can learn more about comparisons on the Victorian Government’s Know Your Council website

Financial support still available

We recognise COVID-19 has caused financial stress for many residents and businesses. Support available includes:

  • Payment arrangements that are tailored to the needs of the property or business owners
  • A deferment of payment of rates
  • An interest waiver on overdue rates to 30 June 2021
  • Financial counselling and support provided by Good Shepherd, this may include no-interest loans

More information about financial support available.

During 2020-21 our Financial Hardship Policy(PDF, 454KB) was accessed by less than one per cent of Stonnington ratepayers and all who applied were offered some level of assistance.

Funding our capital program

This proposed budget will deliver a responsible surplus of $31.08 million which will be used to partly fund an ambitious $82.28 million capital works program.

It is important that we continue to invest in local projects as our population grows and built environment changes. The program responds to community desire for open space and an ambition to move towards more ‘Active Transport’. Capital works also represent economic stimulation to our local economy and the projects provide more reasons to love your neighbourhood.

Highlights for infrastructure projects in 2021-2022 include:

  • Roads, footpaths, bridges and drainage works ($17.5 million)
  • Community building renewal and improvement works ($22.3 million)
  • Land improvements works relating to parks, open space and recreation renewal and improvement projects ($17.5 million)
  • Strategic property acquisitions to increase open space within our community ($10 million)
  • Customer experience improvements and digitisation program ($10.3 million)
  • Harold Holt Swim Centre improvements ($5.3 million)
  • Chapel Street streetscape transformation ($3.3 million)
  • Toorak Village streetscape improvements ($1 million)
  • Mount Street masterplan implementation ($2.65 million)
  • Forest Hill masterplan implementation ($1.5 million)
  • Energy efficiency implementation to further reduce Council's greenhouse gas emissions and utility costs ($0.6 million)
  • Multipurpose indoor sports facility ($7.3 million)*
  • Stonnington cycling strategy implementation ($0.7 million) - including on-road cycling projects ($0.2 million)

The proposed capital works budget also includes some money held over from last financial year that was not spent due to the impact of COVID-19.

*IMPORTANT NOTE: The proposed budget includes provisions for a multipurpose indoor sports facility at Percy Treyvaud Memorial Park in Malvern East, however alternative locations are being investigated. If another option is decided, this may result in a change in the prioritisation of other key capital works projects.

Festivals and events to drive community and economic activation

Stonnington has an incredible arts and events program that nurtures the artistic and cultural side of our community, and brings people into our city. This is especially important as we continue our economic and community recovery program. 

To help build on and deliver these important events, the festivals and events budget has marginally increased in 2021-22 to include new and creative ways of delivering events, to enable the best engagement from our community and economic stimulus.

Highlights of this program include:

  • Roola Boola Children’s Arts Festival
  • Melbourne Fringe Partnership Program
  • The return of our Classics program across our parks and gardens
  • Pets in the Park
  • Melbourne Food and Wine
  • Melbourne Fashion Festival
  • Weekly activation programs including busking, wellness and playtime