Bega Valley Shire Council is seeking community feedback on its draft Operational Plan and Budget 2021-2022, which outlines what Council will do next financial year to meet the needs of the community, within the available funding sources and staffing levels.
The Operational Plan identifies more than 200 actions to support our community and an $85 million capital works program to improve community assets such as community halls, upgrade sporting and recreational facilities, and upgrade our water and sewer network.
Mayor Russell Fitzpatrick said while the draft plan and budget provide a balanced consolidated position, tough decisions are needed to ensure the long-term financial sustainability of Council.
“Our shire is one of the largest local government areas in coastal NSW, however with a small population the revenue raised through rates and charges is not enough to cover the costs of our operations,” Cr Fitzpatrick said.
“This year alone, while the small rate peg increase of 2% will generate around $500,000 more income for Council, our insurances alone have increased by around $600,000.
“We’re also still recovering from the effects of the Black Summer bushfires and COVID-19, which have placed additional strain on our finances.
“We have been working through a financial improvement program for many years now, and while we have made significant improvements, more needs to be done.
“To reach a consolidated financial position, we’ve had to cut back on our spending, and look at our service levels and capital programs.
“Over the coming year, we’ll continue to look at ways we can do business in a smarter and more cost- effective way.”
Along with the draft Operational Plan and Budget, Councillors also adopted the March Quarterly Budget Review, reporting a satisfactory result for the quarter, as well as a Long Term Financial Plan for the shire, which identifies a number of financial scenarios for Council including a preferred improvement scenario.
Comments on the draft Operational Plan and Budget 2021-2022 are welcome via the Have Your Say webpage at begavalley.nsw.gov.au/have-your-say until COB Tuesday 8 June.
Council will consider submissions and adoption of the Operational Plan 2021-2022 and budget by 30 June 2021.