By Melissa Blewitt
More than $20 million in capital works will be undertaken across the Lachlan Shire.
Lachlan Shire Council adopted the revised 2017-2022 Delivery Program and 2021-2022 Operational Plan including Revenue Policy, Budget and Fees and Charges at the Ordinary Meeting of Council on Wednesday, 30 June.
This means more than $20 million of capital works is set to proceed during the coming 12 months.
Highlights of the 2021/2022 budget include $17.6m for local roads and drainage infrastructure; $2m for water infrastructure; $1.3m for sewerage infrastructure; and $236,000 for parks, sports and recreational infrastructure.
“When preparing the Operational Plan, Council is required under the Local Government Act 1993, to consider the principles of sound financial management,” Lachlan Shire Mayor, Councillor John Medcalf OAM explained.
“Therefore, Council spending should be responsible and sustainable, and we should invest in infrastructure for the benefit of our local community.
“I am pleased to advise that Council has adopted a balanced budget for the 2021-2022 year and will continue to deliver all existing services, and service levels to residents over the next twelve months.”
The draft documents were placed on public exhibition for a 28-day period (14 May to 11 June) and provided an opportunity for the community to provide feedback and comment to ensure the long, medium, and short-term aspirations, priorities and needs of Lachlan Shire residents were identified and appropriate strategies developed for implementation.
“As with most rural Councils, roads infrastructure will always be a big-ticket item for us, and Council has been successful in securing grants totalling $10.7m to improve our road network,” Mayor Medcalf stated.
Council has approved an ordinary general rate increase of two per cent as per the IPART rates peg, after a 2.6 per cent increase in 2020/2021.
“This is the maximum percentage amount by which a council can increase its income from ordinary general rates. Ratepayers should note that the NSW Government Emergency Services Levy set by the State Government forms part of the ordinary general rate and at this stage the levy cannot be separated,” Mayor Medcalf advised.
“Most other Council Fees and Charges, not subject to the IPART rates peg were also increased by two per cent. The maximum interest rate Council can charge on overdue rates and charges has decreased from seven per cent in 2020-2021 to six per cent in 2021- 2020.”
While Council’s capital works program includes infrastructure renewal for assets such as roads, footpaths, parks and drainage, Council is also committed to growing the visitor economy and will continue to develop tourism product this financial year.
The construction of the new grant funded visitor information centre, expansion of the sculpture trail, the upgrade of Lake Cargelligo’s Foster Street CBD precinct and a review of caravan park operations in Condobolin, Lake Cargelligo and Tottenham will enhance the Shire’s tourism offering.
“This demonstrates Council’s proactive approach in delivering on its vision for Lachlan Shire to be a resilient community providing economic and social growth,” a statement from Lachlan Shire Council on Thursday, 1 July said.
The Operational Plan and supporting documents can be viewed on Council’s website https://www.lachlan.nsw.gov.au/council/annual-financial-and-statutory-reports/deliveryprogram-operational-plan-budget.aspx
Following the Local Government Elections in September, the new Council will undertake extensive community consultation as part of the NSW Local Government Integrated Planning and Reporting Framework.
This process will involve a review of the ten-year Lachlan Shire Community Strategic Plan, the development of a three-year Delivery Program which is supported by the annual Operational Plan.