Murray River Council has adopted its draft 2022/23 Operational Plan and Budget, which includes a $28.13 million capital works program.
Council is now calling for public feedback on the draft document, along with the draft Four Year Delivery Program, draft Long-Term Financial Strategy, and draft Revenue Policy.
“This is our first budget under the newly adopted Community Strategic Plan (CSP) which drives our strategic planning, budgeting, service delivery and advocacy over the next 10 years,” Mayor Chris Bilkey said.
“Our draft 4-year Delivery Program then breaks down all the goals listed in the CSP into actions and is further supported by our draft Operational Plan which details the financial resources allocated to deliver certain items over this coming year.”
Cr Bilkey said the Council was delivering a carefully considered budget with a view to extra planning over the next 12 months.
“We are still finalising a service review program which is looking at asset management plans, service delivery and resourcing.”
“Once complete we will be able to more accurately plan where we are going with services, assets and maintenance in the longer term.”
“As such, we are delivering a carefully considered budget whilst we await the outcomes of these reviews.”
Cr Bilkey said the outcomes of such reviews will be built into future financial plans and budgets.
“Until then, we are confident this budget strikes a balance between fulfilling existing levels of service, continuing delivery of community projects and remaining flexible enough to consider outcomes of our service review,” he said.
The 22/23 draft budget estimates an operating revenue of $57.4 million and operating expenses of $57.6 million for the coming year.
Of the $28.1 million capital works program, $14.1 million will come from Council operations and reserves, $11.7 million from capital grants and contributions and $2.3 million from loan borrowings.
Council will also see an overall draft deficit of $1.38 million for the 2022/23 financial year.
CEO Terry Dodds said the draft deficit is largely the result of one-off projects for the 2022/23 year budget that are funded by Council’s own source.
“The budgeted 2022/23 deficit is being proposed as it will result in projects being completed, like the service review, that will allow Council to further improve its overall operating performance ratio over the longer term.”
“As well as reviewing asset management plans, service delivery and resourcing, staff have commenced an organisation-wide project to continually assess how outcomes are achieved.”
“This will require everyone to adopt a different mindset; as we all know, the most dangerous phrase in the English language is ‘we’ve always done it this way’,” he said.
The draft budget is based on a total rate revenue increase of 2.0% in general rates.
Some of the larger areas of capital spend include:
- TechnologyOne Implementation $2,195,000
- Moama Preschool Development $2,101,452
- Tooranie Rd / Yarrein Cr Bridge $2,100,000
- Sandy’s Rd / Barber Cr Bridge $1,800,000
- Plant Replacement Program $1,500,000
- Regional Roads Reseals Program $1,400,000
- Rural Roads Reseals & Heavy Patching Program $1,400,000
- Frasers Rd / Murrain Yarrein Ck Bridge $1,300,000
- Waste 10Yr Capex Program – Year 1 Activities $1,250,000
- Automated Depot and Re-Sale Shop $1,206,000
Cr Bilkey said while this budget accounts for planned projects and services, council will continue to seek grant funding for ongoing development and projects.
“As we continue to manage the effects of rapid residential growth, we will continue to call on the State and Federal Governments for support to ensure we can deliver the facilities and services our community deserves,” he said.
The draft documents are available for public comment for a period of 28 days and can be viewed online at yoursay.murrayriver.nsw.gov.au
Following the exhibition period, a meeting of council will be held at the end of June to consider any submissions prior to formally adopting the budget.