Melbourne counts COVID hit
Melbourne has revealed a $100 million hit to its bottom line as a result of COVID-19.
City of Melbourne Council has released a draft Annual Plan and Budget, laying out a planned $50 million COVID recovery package.
The documents include a target for $33 million in cost savings in what Lord Mayor Sally Capp describes as “a recovery budget”.
The city says COVID-19 has cut over $100 million from Council’s 2020-21 draft budget, leaving an underlying deficit of $57.4 million.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has hit our city hard. Business and retail have been severely impacted, tourist visitation has plummeted, and international students are doing it tough,” Cr Capp said.
“This year, for the first time in more than 30 years, the budget will have a deficit. We are deliberately investing in our community now so we can support businesses and deliver infrastructure and stimulus as a platform for recovery.”
The $630 million budget lays out $168 million worth of infrastructure spending, $41 million for transport and $32 million for climate action.
There is $18.9 million in residential and commercial rate relief and small business grants, $17 million for the arts and $19 million for major events and festivals.
The council’s planned $33 million in savings will come from a reduced reliance on contractors, consultants and administration.
A total of $6 million has been put aside for cleaning in public spaces.
“We are investing $6 million in extra cleaning across our public areas to improve safety and bolster community confidence as more people return to our streets, laneways and parks,” Cr Capp said.
Melbourne expects a $28 million (33 per cent) drop in parking fee revenue from last year, and has forecast a 50 per cent drop in parking fine revenue.