The City of Albany has unveiled its budget for the next financial year including $5 million towards upgrading the Albany Regional Airport, $7.1m to maintain the region’s road network and $3.4m for waste management. In April, City of Albany councillors voted to freeze rates for the next financial year and take a 20 per cent pay cut for six months in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Debt recovery on outstanding rates was also halted and concessions offered on commercial properties leased by the City. In the draft budget, chief executive Andrew Sharpe acknowledged this year had been “more challenging than ever before”. Rates and City fees will be frozen across several key facilities including the Albany Leisure and Aquatic Centre, National Anzac Centre, Albany Public Library and City-managed camp grounds. Mayor Dennis Wellington said though the City would not increase rates for the next financial year, the revaluation of unimproved valuation properties would affect some ratepayers. “The valuer general has undertaken a routine revaluation of unimproved valuation properties that will mean these particular properties may experience an increase in their individual property rates from last year,” he said. “This is often due to additions and/or enhancements adding to a property’s value or what was previously vacant land now being occupied by a new home. “From a whole-of-City perspective, 72.2 per cent of UV properties will have no increase or decrease in rates for the next financial year.” In the budget, Mr Wellington said he was “optimistic” about the City’s ability to recover from the pandemic. “Restoring our iconic Town Hall, enhancing Albany Public Library with new infrastructure, replacing the popular Ellen Cove swimming enclosure and starting construction on the Youth Challenge Park are a few of our City-led projects that are paving the way in regional liveability,” he said. Mr Wellington said the $5m allocated to Albany Regional Airport resurfacing was crucial to ensuring the safety of passengers as well as preserving the longevity of aviation transport for Albany. More than $2.2m has been allocated to the Centennial Park Precinct development, about $560,000 to the National Anzac Centre and $481,000 to Albany Leisure and Aquatic Centre. Local paths will be developed with a $1.4m boost and $1.1m has been allocated to upgrading infrastructure including jetties, retaining walls and carparks. With the Hanrahan Road landfill site approaching its maximum lifespan $3.4m has been allocated to projects to manage waste, including the design and installation of bores to extract gas. Councillors will vote on the budget at next week’s meeting.