Time is running out to have your Bite of Council’s budget

The community is being reminded that the time to comment on Dubbo Regional Council’s (DRC) Budget and Operational Plan is coming to a close on Monday, 30 May 2022. The draft Budget, Delivery Program and Operational Plan provide a road map for Council’s spending activities and services for the 2022-23 financial year.

Mayor of Dubbo Regional Council Mathew Dickerson said it’s a complex Council matter, but he is pleased with the community interest. “The newly elected Councillors have a big task ahead, and to achieve financial sustainability we have some difficult decisions to make. We have been pleased to see the community so engaged this year, asking questions and making submissions,” said Mayor Dickerson.

“One of the important decision Council needs to deliberate is the proposed rate rise of 2.3 per cent vs 0.7 per cent. Council took a conservative approach and planned for a rate peg of 2.3 per cent in the adopted 2021-22 Long Term Financial Plan. In late 2021, the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) announced a rate peg for the 2022-23 financial year of 0.7 per cent. A rate peg that is lower than 2.5 per cent will reduce the level of funding available for the maintenance of essential assets and the provision of community services. The NSW Government and (IPART) have since agreed to allow NSW councils to apply for a one-off special variation for the 2022-23 financial year only,” said DRC Mayor Mathew Dickerson.

“Following the completion of the public consultation, Council will review the community’s feedback about the proposed rate rise, broader budget and operational plan for deliberation at the June Ordinary Meeting of Council,” he said.

DRC CEO, Murray Wood, said Council has taken extra effort to engage with the community this year by pulling out some key “budget bites” and highlighting them on social media. “The ‘Budget Bites’ campaign has been effective in generating discussion, interest and submissions about the draft Budget and Operational Plan prior to a Council decision. In years gone by, the community and user groups have often been caught off-guard about new fees and charges, or changes to the existing plan, following Council endorsement and once the charges are in effect,” said Mr Wood.

“It’s good to see the amount of submissions received this year as a result of this different approach, I hope that in the future this can be expanded, and we can work even closer with our community on developing these key strategic documents,” said Mr Wood.

The budget encompasses a number of documents, including the Long Term Financial Plan, Workforce Management Plan, 2022-2025 Delivery Program and 2022/2023 Operational Plan, and the Macquarie Regional Library 2022/2023 Operational Plan. These documents will form the basis of Council’s activities over the next 12 months to achieve the objectives outlined in the Towards 2040 Community Strategic Plan.

The final day for submissions is 5pm on Monday, 30 May 2022. All documents are available online or at DRC’s Customer Experience Centres in Dubbo and Wellington, or the Macquarie Regional Library.

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