Budget reinforces Fit for the Future status

Council is proposing a small budget surplus for the next financial year, while retaining its level of services and meeting all of the State Government’s Fit for the Future ratios.

Following endorsement by Council, the draft Community Strategic Plan 2017/27, Delivery Program 2017/21 and Operational Plan 2017/8 are now on exhibition for comment.

Acting General Manager, Kerry McMurray

“These plans have been drafted following extensive community consultation, including workshops and surveys,” Kerry McMurray, Acting General Manager says.

“The public now has another opportunity for involvement, by commenting on the documents, which will be on public display until Friday 16 June.

“Importantly, all the things we need to do in these plans has been budgeted for, as part of our Long Term Financial Plan, which means we remain Fit for the Future.

“In fact we are on track for a budget surplus in 2017/18, without a significant rates rise or cutback to services, which is a considerable achievement given the
financial challenges facing local government in NSW.”

Coincidentally, news of Kiama Council being officially recognised as meeting the Fit for the Future criteria was communicated to the Mayor by Gareth Ward MP through a phone call during the May Council meeting.

“This is the equivilant of getting a AAA rating, and will make our borrowing costs for our major projects commensurately lower,” says Mayor Mark Honey.

In addition to commencing the Gerringong Museum and Library Complex and the Blue Haven Centre for Aged Care Excellence, Council’s draft budget for the coming year includes the following big ticket new capital works:

  • $200,000 for the upgrade of the Council Administration building (with an additional $300,000 in capital renewal money)
  • $191,000 for the construction of a pedestrian bridge over Hyams Creek at Jamberoo
  • $100,000 for the construction of a car park at the Kiama netball courts
  • $50,000 for works identified in the Bombo Quarry and Headland Masterplan
  • $180,000 for landscaping and improvements in the Fern and Noble St precinct in Gerringong.

The capital renewal program includes a major upgrade of Surf Beach Holiday Park, costing close to $1 million, part of a $2.5 million project, and $3 million for roads, cycleways and footpath maintenance.

Almost $80,000 has been set aside for strategic planning initiatives..

Money for these projects will come from a mix of revenue, grants, developer contributions and loans.

Council’s Long Term Financial Plan assumes a Special Rate Variation of 3%, on top of the rate peg, from next financial year for the three years, and then retaining permanently the additional rate revenue when it reverts back to the rate pegging level.

Mr McMurray will be Acting General Manager until the end of June, when the role will be taken over by Clare Rogers, Director of Community Services, until Michael Forsyth returns from long service leave in late July.

In his role as Director of Finance, Corporate and Commercial Services, a position he took on in the midst of the merger uncertainty, Mr McMurray is credited with leading many efficiency improvement initiatives and ensuring compliance with ratios.

Details: The Plans are available on kiama.nsw.gov.au or from Council offices

 

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