Extraordinary meeting delivers adopted budget

Port Macquarie-Hastings

Port Macquarie-Hastings Council (PMHC) will enact its new financial plans after Councillors resolved to adopt a budget and several other associated documents at Wednesday’s extraordinary meeting.

Councillors adopted the annual Operational Plan (and budget), resolving to keep the Ordinary Rates at their 2021/2022 level for one year, and to continue with the Town Centre Masterplan (TCMP) component.

Councillors also resolved to adopt a four-year Delivery Program and Resourcing Strategy, the Fees and Charges and set the Rates for the 2022/2023 financial year.

The total 2022/2023 budgeted expenditure, (excluding depreciation and loss on disposal of assets), will be $288.9m, with total revenues expected to be $256.3 million. Of this, $166 million will be spent on capital works projects including the duplication of Ocean Drive and construction of the airport parallel taxiway project, right through to upgrades to our wastewater treatment plants, high traffic road resurfacing and LGA-wide footpath and sewer upgrades.

The adoption of Wednesday’s budget sets the financial plan for the community’s future, which will include drawing down on reserve funds to meet the budgeted shortfall of the one-year rate freeze.

It will help minimise impacts on program deliverables, and cover the maintenance and renewal of roads, storm water and footpath networks, as well as parks and recreation spaces.

Port Macquarie Hastings Mayor Peta Pinson said she was thrilled to be able to deliver her first budget of the new Council.

“Today’s budget shows that we have listened to what the community has to say, with parks, roads, footpaths, sewer and water – the core services of Council’s business – receiving the bulk of a widespread investment in critical infrastructure projects,” Mayor Pinson said.

“It’s a really proud day and I thank the community for their continuing support.”

PMHC CEO Dr Clare Allen said the setting of today’s budget will allow Council to deliver significant investment in asset maintenance and renewals across our core areas such as roads, storm water, water, sewer, footpaths and open spaces on behalf of our community.

“Despite having a balanced budget position, the 2022/2023 budget forecasts a minor operating loss of $2,444k driven by an operating loss of $8,780k for Council’s general fund. This can be attributed to recent natural disasters and the impacts the COVID-19 pandemic has had on material and resource costs and supply chains, the strategic increases in maintenance expenditure across core areas such as roads, drainage and parks and the impact of cost shifting from other levels of government.”

Dr Allen said “Council plans to focus on returning to surplus by developing, and then implementing, a comprehensive improvement plan focusing on asset management planning, efficiency reviews of operational areas, enhanced technology solutions and more efficient procurement solutions.

“Many of these initiatives are already underway and they will all flow into improved long-term planning and financial modelling, as well as providing greater transparency and certainty to our community.”

Dr Allen thanked the community for its input into the budget over the public engagement period, noting that much of the feedback provided was supported in the adopted budget.

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