21 May 2021

Feedback sought on Bega and Eurobodalla council budgets

| Katrina Condie
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Eurobodalla's big-ticket project is Batemans Bay's $69 million aquatic, arts and leisure centre.

Eurobodalla’s big-ticket project is the Batemans Bay $69 million aquatic, arts and leisure centre. Photo: Eurobodalla Shire Council.

Both the Bega Valley and Eurobodalla Shire Councils are seeking community feedback on their draft Operational Plans and 2021‑2022.

Residents and ratepayers are invited to have their say on the councils’ plans for the next financial year to meet the needs of the community, within the available funding sources and staffing levels.

Bega Valley Mayor Russell Fitzpatrick said Bega’s Operational Plan identifies more than 200 actions to support the community and an $85 million capital works program to improve community assets such as halls, the upgrade of sporting and recreational facilities and upgrade to the water and sewer network.

Cr Fitzpatrick said while the draft plan and budget provide a balanced consolidated position, tough decisions were 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,” he said.

“This year alone, while the small rate peg increase of two per cent 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,” he added.

READ ALSO Heavy rains wreak havoc on Bega Valley roads, disrupt Brown Mountain repairs

Council will consider submissions and adoption of the Operational Plan 2021-2022 and budget by 30 June 2021.

Eurobodalla residents have until Tuesday 25 May to give their feedback on Eurobodalla council’s draft 2021-22 budget and revised work plan.

The revised Draft Delivery Program 2017-22 and Operational Plan 2021-22 outline council’s work plan for its elected term and details operations for 2021-22 including the budget, capital program, revenue policy and fees and charges.

A council spokesperson said council estimates it will manage an income of about $123 million in 2021-22, excluding capital grants and contributions. About half of this income is from ratepayers, with the remainder from user fees and charges, grants, contributions and investments.

Council expects to spend $125 million in 2021-22 delivering essential community infrastructure and services and continuing its bushfire recovery work.

Capital works on sports fields, marine facilities, parks and reserves total $5.9 million, while $8.7 million is allocated to the local transport network.

About $4.6 million of NSW Government funds will be spent on upgrades for Observation Point at Batehaven and Riverside Park in Moruya and progressing the Mogo Trail Adventure Hub.

The big-ticket project is the $69 million aquatic, arts and leisure centre at Batemans Bay which is funded by the Commonwealth and NSW Governments and council.

Bega Valley residents can have their say HERE until Tuesday 8 June.

Eurobodalla residents can have their say HERE until Tuesday 25 May.

Start the conversation

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