A draft plan outlining projects and services to be delivered across the MidCoast during 2021-22, along with MidCoast Council’s draft annual operating budget, is now open for feedback until Friday 28 May, 2021.
Operational plans are prepared each year as part of Council’s commitment to implementing the four year Delivery Program. Both are part of a suite of planning documents developed to achieve the objectives identified as priorities for the local community in the Community Strategic Plan, ‘MidCoast 2030: Shared Vision, Shared Responsibility’.
“This year marks the final operational plan within the delivery program for our current councillors, with a continued focus on providing services to our community in a way that adds value and builds trust,” explained Adrian Panuccio, MidCoast Council’s General Manager.
“While we remain committed to delivering against our original four-year program, this year’s draft plan has added context as our community undertakes the long journey of recovery from the impact of recent bushfires and floods.”
Along with an outline of the projects and services to be delivered over the next 12 months, the draft plan provides a detailed budget breakdown to guide their delivery, and importantly performance measures that will be used to report on Council’s progress.
Focusing on improving the roads that connect our communities has been a consistent theme over recent years. This year, as well as continuing to roll-out the $100 million road improvement program, the draft plan highlights a number of important projects and initiatives, some of which include:
- An upgrade for the Gloucester water supply system
- Adopting the region’s first Climate Change Strategy, and moving into the implementation phase
- Continued focus on developing a consolidated Local Environment Plan and Development Control Plan to extend across the entire region
- Harmonising Council’s rating system, a legislative requirement for all merged councils, to be in place for the 2021/22 financial year
- Initiatives aimed at managing our natural assets, such as the Biodiversity Framework and Greening Strategy
- Renewal works across our transport network, building assets and facilities
- Construction of additional landfill capacity at the Taree Waste Management Centre
“Providing value for money to our ratepayers underpins our approach when developing the annual operational plan and budget,” Mr Panuccio said.
The draft document sets out the details of the rates harmonisation process MidCoast Council will be undertaking from 1 July 2021.
This process, which is a requirement of the State Government for merged Councils, standardises rates across the three former local government areas and needs to be in place for the 2021-22 financial year.
“We have worked hard to ensure this is as equitable as possible for our community and have been able to develop a structure that means 80% of property owners will either have no change, or experience less than $50 a year increase, with reductions for some.”
This year also sees a continuation of harmonising other fees and charges across the MidCoast region, including waste collection and water charges which have remained static in recent years.
While variations apply, the general increase in fees and charges sits at approximately two per cent, in line with the 2021-2022 rate peg set by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) – an indicator of changing costs in the delivery of council services.
In its ‘business-as-usual’ budget, MidCoast Council allows for income from continuing operations of $283 million, exceeding the projected operating expenditure of $277 million.
“More than just focusing on the year ahead, our challenge has always been looking after our infrastructure into the future; we will continue to work with elected councillors to balance this with meeting our community’s needs,” Mr Panuccio said.
A visual breakdown of income and expenditure can be found on Page 12 of the draft Operational Plan, while budget summaries are available in the section beginning on Page 88. Detailed budget statements are provided in the Draft Budget Papers.
To read the 2021-2022 draft operational plan, annual budget, and proposed fees and charges, and to provide your feedback, please visit www.haveyoursay.midcoast.nsw.gov.au before the public exhibition period closes on Friday 28 May.
View the community’s strategic plan ‘MidCoast 2030: Shared Vision, Shared Responsibility’ and the current delivery program, along with past operational plans at www.midcoast.nsw.gov.au/futureplans