The community has until 14 June to have their say on what projects Kiama Council should spend its money on in the next financial year.
Council’s new General Manager, Kerry McMurray, says it is an opportunity to put forward new projects, with the understanding the $55 million budget must remain balanced.
“If the councillors, through community submissions, deem to put something else in, then something of the same value has to come out.”
The draft Operational Plan 2018/9 contains details of the specific services, programs, events, facilities and infrastructure that Council will provide and maintain for the 2018-19 financial year.
It is currently on display for public comment, along with the draft Delivery Program 2017/21 which details a broad plan of actions that will be taken to implement the Community Strategic Plan 2017/27.
Mr McMurray says the first operational plan under his stewardship is very much ‘steady as we go’.
“It has a focus on continuing to meet the seven financial benchmarks for sustainability [Fit for the Future].
“Council has consciously made the decision to put a lot more money to asset renewal and maintenance rather than new capital.
“The community is in a unique position in terms of how much infrastructure is actually provided.
“The challenge for the Council is maintaining that infrastructure to the standard that the community expects.”
The major new capital works this coming year are the building of the Blue Haven Care Aged Care Facility on the old hospital site, which is being funded by grants and a $60 million loan, and previously budgeted work on the Gerringong Library and Museum complex.
Other new projects include:
- $1 million in preparatory costs for the Spring Creek land development
- $10,000 for air conditioning the Jamberoo School of Arts
- another $223,000 for the Jamberoo Valley Cycleway
- $20,000 for the BMX track at Minnamurra Quarry
- $31,100 for water bubblers in eight locations
- $20,000 for the Arthur Campbell Reserve
- over $460,000 for eight new playgrounds (see page 3).
The focus on maintenance and renewal includes:
- the resealing of at least 74 roads, with over $500,000 in additional money for those yet to be determined
- almost $1.1 million for the upgrade of amenities at Kevin Walsh Oval in Jamberoo, Surf Beach, Minnamurra and North Werri
- $200,000 in upgrades and maintenance for Council’s Administration building
- $500,000 to replace the columns of the Old Council Chamber, which have concrete cancer
- $490,000 in IT upgrades.
Shoalhaven St resident Peter Stuckey, with the support of the Central Precinct, will be calling for an increase on the $10,000 allocated for pedestrian safety work at the Bong Bong and Shoalhaven Street intersection.
“All of the work proposed in the Pedestrian Access Mobility Plan prepared for this corner should be completed in 2018,” he says.
“If Council can justify spending money on water bubblers and other non-essential matters ahead of urgent work on road safety it should check its priorities.
“Residents have been requesting Council to undertake these works since 2015.
“Delaying works by allocating such a paltry sum cannot be justified.”
The Operational Plan includes a 6 per rate variation recently approved by IPART.
Mr McMurray is confident that the 6 per cent increases for the following two years will be approved in due time, describing the delay as teething problems between the Fit for the Future requirements and the old way of approving rate variations.
The Draft plans will be considered for adoption at Council’s meeting on Tuesday 26 June. Submissions close 14 June.
Details: The documents are available at www.kiama.nsw.gov.au or from the Council Administration Centre. Submissions should be emailed to email@example.com, or mailed to the General Manager, PO Box 75, Kiama 2533