Sports facilities and roads investments are the highlights of the proposed Moorabool council budget.

The draft budget, which is out for community consultation until June 18, also includes funds for a number of projects and programs, as well as studies for future investment possibilities.

Highlights of the proposed budget include $2.786 million for stage 1 of the Bacchus Marsh Racecourse Reserve upgrade, $1.6 million for lighting upgrades to sports fields and
$1.3 million each for works to Old Melbourne Road in Dunnstown and Werribee Vale Road in Maddingley.

There will be a 2.5 per cent increase to rates, in line with rate-capping regulations.

Moorabool mayor Paul Tatchell said that while the council had the option of potentially increasing rates above the cap, it decided against it.

“We’ve kept the rate rises to CPI, which has been incredibly difficult because I don’t think you should have to build a shire on the back of the ratepayers,” he said. “We have the capacity to go beyond the rate cap, but in reality I think that would be an atrocious response to the lack of funding in the area.”

Other notable investments for the shire include $828,000 for improved LED street lighting, $550,000 for pre-planning at the Bacchus Marsh Indoor Recreation Facility, $500,000 for stage one of the Ballan depot construction and $300,000 for the pavilion at Ballan Recreation Reserve.

The council will also adopt the Western Bulldogs Leadership Program ($150,000) and a Youth Mental Health Program ($150,000), as well as employ an arts and culture officer ($40,000).

The proposed budget includes new borrowings of $10.736 million.

Copies of the proposed budget can be viewed at moorabool.vic.gov.au.

Residents may make submissions on the budget at haveyoursaymoorabool.com.au or by emailing info@moorabool.vic.gov.au