On Tuesday, 23 June, Eurobodalla Shire Council (ESC) approved revised plans and budgets for the next financial year, aimed at helping the community rebuild following the past summer’s bushfire crisis and COVID-19.
Council’s 2017-2021 Delivery Program and 2020-2021 Operational Plan focuses on reducing hardship for residents, leading bushfire recovery and stimulating the local economy during the next 12 months.
However, rates and fees will rise by 2.6 per cent, which is the NSW Government’s recommended increase for councils this year. Changes to ESC’s hardship policy include interest-free payment plans available for 12 months.
Around 30 per cent of ESC’s $116 million operating expenditure budget will go directly into the local economy with the purchase of materials, goods and services, direct employment, contractors, labour costs and local plant hire.
Developers will be able to defer the cost of infrastructure associated with building – such as S94 and S64 contributions – until later in the process.
In the budget, $200,000 was earmarked for council’s Disaster Relief Fund specifically for businesses which lost revenue from bushfires and/or COVID-19. A further $200,000 will be used to help with the cost of development applications for people who lost their homes in the bushfires.
Eurobodalla Shire Council Mayor Liz Innes said in the next 12 months council will focus on leading bushfire recovery and stimulating the local economy.
“Council truly understands the hurt within our community and we know we have a long road ahead after such devastating loss,” she said.
“This plan ensures we have the capacity to advocate and assist our community with the rebuilding process, and to continue to provide much needed services and infrastructure, while maintaining sustainable management of council’s finances now and into the future.”
Major projects during the next year include construction of the Batemans Bay Regional Aquatic, Arts and Leisure Centre; Moruya Airport redevelopment; activating the Batemans Bay waterfront; and $2.3 million worth of improvements at Gundary, Bill Smyth and Captain Oldrey Park ovals.
The full 2017-2021 Delivery Program and 2020-2021 Operational Plan are available for viewing on the Eurobodalla Shire Council website.