Rate rises to dominate budget meeting

Public meetings for Federation Council’s key strategic documents, including the upcoming 12 months budget of 2.5% in rate increases with much steeper increases proposed in subsequent years, starts today.

Under the proposed budget, in the 22/23 financial year, Federation Council will aim to complete $18m in capital projects and deliver $8.2m in operational expenditure road works, bridges and footpath maintenance, and $8.9m on the sewerage and water network.

In the Long-Term Financial Plan, council has adopted a scenario that provides: A $48m annual operating program; $18.6m capital program for 2022/23 ($104m total capital program over the 10 years)

Rate increases of 2.5% for 2022/23, followed by a special rate variation for four years from 2023/24 to 2026/27 being 19%, 17%, 14% and 10% are outlined in the proposed budget. The four-year rate variation will need to be approved by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) with an application to be made in the 2022/23 financial year.

The first of series meetings throughout the council area begins at the Corowa Civic Bowls Club at 5.30pm to 6.30pm, Wednesday, May 18.

As mentioned previously in the Federation Council Snippets, the one-hour-long meetings from 5.30pm to 6.30pm will be held in the Howlong Multipurpose Hall and Gymnasium tomorrow (Thursday, May 19), in the Mulwala Civic Centre next Tuesday, May 24 and in the Urana Council Chamber on Thursday, May 26.

At its monthly meeting on Monday, council unanimously endorsed its draft 2022/2023 Operational Plan, 2022-2026 Delivery Program and 2023 - 2032 Long Term Financial Plan.

Federation Council Mayor Pat Bourke said this special rate increase would provide capacity for council to address the asset management demands of existing infrastructure over an extended period of time, whilst maintaining similar levels of service to those currently delivered and continue to improve its financial sustainability.

“This would enable council to address ongoing concerns being raised within the community regarding council’s local road network and other ageing infrastructure,” he said.

Mayor Bourke said the overall plans’ primary focus was to ensure council services are sustainable into the future, and that the voices of the community are heard and translated into actions going forward.

Some highlights of the plans and broken into the Community Strategic Plan Pillars include –

Build Federation - Maintained and improved infrastructure that meets the needs of residents and industry:

• Complete delivery of the $10.6million Corowa Saleyards upgrade, providing improved animal welfare and environmental outcomes.

• Finalise $2.7million Cullivel Road Urana.

• Deliver $2.9million Balldale Road upgrade.

• Implement water infrastructure upgrades for Howlong currently estimated at $3.8 million.

• Develop Masterplan for Memorial Park / Cross Street Reserve Howlong.

• Finalise the Flood Management Plan for Urana and surrounding areas.

• Finalise and implement Council wide Waste Management strategy.

Economic Federation - Growing, progressive and prosperous communities that build on sustainable manufacturing, agriculture and tourism, close proximity to other centres on both sides of the Murray and affordability.

• Progress sales of industrial lots in the Howlong Business Parks.

• Continue implementation of the North of the Murray Branding strategy.

• Seek public and private sector investment for upgrades to Ball Park Caravan Park Corowa.

• Finalise the Federation Council Growth Strategy.

• Develop an Economic Advocacy Plan.

Social Federation - Close-knit and welcoming communities where people come together and support each other.

• Implement the Ageing Well Strategy.

• Continue to foster leadership within the Federation Youth Council.

• Implement the Disability Inclusion Action Plan.

• Continue to support the Arts and Culture Committee.

• Support the work of the Community Drug Action Team.

Feedback on the original Our Community Our Opportunity Community Strategic Plan was sought in early 2022 with an online survey conducted from Thursday 3 February 2022 to Tuesday 1 March

2022. A total of 68 responses were received.

“Community feedback has been consistently positive in respect to the investment made by the NSW Government and Federation Council since the merger (2016),” Mayor Bourke said.

During the 28-day exhibition period of the draft documents, council will conduct four public community sessions to outline the key priorities and to present the proposed budget. During these sessions the community will have another opportunity to provide feedback which will further inform any changes.

To register your interest in attending an upcoming Draft Budget Roadshow Sessions, or to provide feedback on the draft suite of documents visit Council's website www.federationcouncil.nsw.gov.au

Any submissions received will be considered at the June 2022 Council meeting.