Budget includes significant infrastructure investment
RICHMOND Valley Council’s 2018-2019 Budget includes a significant $28,082,592 capital works program, which will see many key projects completed over the next 12 months.
The Budget also shows a surplus of $132,000 for next year, and surplus budgets for all four years of the delivery program.
Council’s General Manager Vaughan Macdonald said in framing the Budget, the delivery of a surplus was considered essential.
Mr Macdonald said given the increases in non-controllable costs, such as wages, State Government levies, electricity, road-base materials, fuel, machinery costs, and insurance premiums, a surplus budget was difficult to achieve and cuts were made to achieve this result.
Nevertheless, he said a number of new projects and initiatives were included in the Budget and were fully funded in the forward financial estimates.
“While the $55.4 million Budget boasts a modest surplus of $132,000, Council’s financial forecasts show a much stronger financial position in the future, whilst delivering core services and essential capital works,” Mr Macdonald said.
Richmond Valley Council Mayor Robert Mustow said he was pleased the 2018-2019 Budget would see Council complete many of the programs and commitments endorsed by the community.
Cr Mustow said overall, Council had delivered a good mix of funding allocations between community, assets and the environment.
He said there had been extensive community engagement in the development of Council’s strategies and plans.
“Council has developed a responsible Budget, heavily focused on providing key signature community projects which enhance the lifestyle of all residents,” he said.
The major projects identified for completion are over the next 12 months are:
· Casino Drill Hall & Riverside Precinct $1,632,000
· Woodburn Riverside Precinct $1,200,000
· Coraki Riverfront $355,000
· Roads to Recovery Program $701,000
· Road rehabilitation projects $1,000,000
· Woodburn-Coraki Road $1,000,000
· Northern Rivers Livestock Exchange Stage 2 Upgrade $7,000,000
· Nammoona Waste and Resource Recovery Facility – planning and preparation of a new landfill cell $2,120,000
· Bora Ridge Landfill – cell capping and transfer station construction $721,000
· Evans Head Transfer Station weighbridge $150,000
· Stormwater capital works $433,000
· Casino water supplies solar installation $350,000
· Evans Head water supplies booster pump station improvements $315,000
· Evans Head Sewerage Treatment Plant fixed sludge dewatering gear $250,000
Mr Macdonald said Council would continue restoration works from the flooding of 2017 and replace infrastructure, such as bitumen reseals, gravel re-sheeting and key drainage infrastructure right across the region’s 3025 square kilometres.
Other projects and initiatives fully funded over the next four years include:
· Additional road maintenance on the Woodburn- Coraki Road, including heavy patching
· Emu Park Road rehabilitation
· Live streaming of Council meetings
· Maintenance and upgrades at the Casino and Coraki libraries
The 2018-2019 Budget also includes some increases to rates and annual charges:
· General rates to increase by 5.50 percent consistent with the approved Special Rate Variation.
· Domestic waste charge to increase by 9.62 percent to $490.
· Non-domestic waste charge to increase by 10.04 percent to $515.
· Waste infrastructure charge to increase by 20 percent to $30. This charge was introduced to contribute funding towards the construction of a new landfill cell at Nammoona, and to fund ongoing asset renewals of the waste management program.
· Annual water charges to increase by 5 percent.
· Annual sewerage charges to increase by 2.3 percent.
Mr Macdonald said Council had no choice but to increase its domestic and non-domestic waste charges by around 10 percent given the challenges faced nationwide following China’s decision to stop accepting recycled waste.
He said it was also likely the Queensland Government would introduce a waste levy which would increase Council’s costs of disposing its landfill waste, which was currently being transported to Queensland.
The Revised Delivery Program 2017-2021 and Operational Plan 2018-2019, including Draft Financial Estimates 2018-2022, as well as the Revenue Policy 2018-2019 will be on public exhibition from Wednesday 23 May to Tuesday 19 June.
During the exhibition period, submissions from the community can be forwarded to the General Manager, Richmond Valley Council, Locked Bag 10 Casino NSW 2470 or to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Copies of the draft documents are available for inspection at Council’s Customer Service Centres in Casino and Evans Head, or can be viewed and downloaded from Council’s website at www.richmondvalley.nsw.gov.au