Budget surplus heads strategic plans on exhibition

A transformed budget and Council’s key projects and objectives are on public display from today, with Council exhibiting its key strategic documents for 2019/2020.

An Operating Budget in the black is a centrepiece of the Integrated Planning & Reporting (IP&R) Framework documents that are now on display for public comment.

“Council’s first budget surplus since the local government merger, without the assistance of amalgamation funding, is a significant achievement. It reflects our focus to make 2019/2020 a period of consolidation for Council and put the organisation in a strong financial position,” Armidale Regional Council Mayor Simon Murray said.

“Improved efficiencies, other cost savings and reassessment of priorities for projects and activities helped to bring Council’s budget deficit down to under $500,000 for 2018/19 and we continued that trajectory in 2019/20 for a projected surplus of $26,000.

“The draft Operational Plan outlines a comparatively modest list of activities compared to previous years, to avoid over-extending the organisation and ensure we can deliver what we promise.”

The Operational Plan focuses largely on the maintenance and renewal of facilities and other infrastructure owned and operated by Council, to protect their long-term sustainability for generations to come.

“However, there are important new projects in the draft 2019/2020 Operational Plan , including establishing the Armidale Regional Airport Business Park and a major upgrade of Kempsey Road’s notorious Big Hill section,” Councillor Murray said.

“Our objectives for 2019/2020 strike a balance between stern financial responsibility and meeting the needs and ambitions of our community. This exhibition period is a chance to keep the community fully informed about our direction for the next financial year and identify any required fine-tuning.”

An extraordinary meeting of Council on Wednesday resolved to put the IP&R documents on public exhibition from Friday 17 May to Monday 17 June.

To view the documents or to make a submission, visit Council’s engagement website Your Say Armidale.

Printed copies of the document will be available to view at Council’s Armidale and Guyra offices.

Submissions close Monday 17 June at 5pm.

Budget highlights:

Consolidated Operating surplus of $2.04 million, comprising the following operating surplus results:

• General Fund – $20,391

• Water Fund – $973,803

• Sewer Fund – $1.05 million

Capital Budget highlights:

• Guyra main street upgrade – $1.5 million

• Stage 1 introduction of security screening at Armidale Regional Airport – $1.86 million

• Plant & vehicle replacement – $3.15 million

• Guyra sewerage treatment plant upgrade – $600,000

• Rockvale Road Stage 1 upgrade – $990,000

• Extension of Armidale Regional Airport apron – $3 million

• Dumaresq Dam upgrade – $1.5 million

Operational Plan highlights:

• $3.25 million development of Armidale Regional Airport Business Park

• $1.3 million upgrade of Big Hill section of Kempsey Road

• Implement Smart Parking strategy to improve availability of parking in Armidale CBD

• Phase 2 of ARDi autonomous vehicle trial

• Villages & Stakeholder Engagement Plan for effective consultation with communities throughout the region

• Develop Armidale Masterplan 2036, to align Dumaresq Creek Masterplan and other land use strategies for the city of Armidale

• Develop a regional ‘Library service for the Future’

/Public Release. View in full here.