Feedback welcomed on strategic plans and annual budget

Friday, 19 May 2017

Lismore City Council is seeking community feedback on its new suite of strategic documents and 2017/18 budget, which are now on display for 28 days.

The draft Imagine Lismore Community Strategic Plan 2017-2027 details the community’s 10-year aspirations for Lismore and sets the scene for what the community wishes for its future.

The four-year Delivery Program is Council’s action plan for achieving the community’s vision while the accompanying one-year Operational Plan is Council’s annual budget.

The State Government requires all NSW councils to develop new Integrated Planning & Reporting documents at the beginning of each new council term.

Lismore City Council Executive Director Infrastructure Services Gary Murphy said Council was now seeking the community’s feedback on the documents before they go to Council for final adoption in June.

“These plans have been in the making for many months and represent every department of Council planning for the next four years to provide services to residents and ensure we have a rich and vibrant community life,” Gary explained.

“These plans are not without challenges though and we have made some tough decisions to ensure we are being financially responsible into the future.”

Gary explained that while costs to deliver services continue to rise, revenue is not keeping pace. He said this meant investigating ways to reduce the cost of Council’s operations and also increase revenues.

Council made savings internally of approximately $2.5 million this year with every department required to contribute. Council is now proposing two Special Rate Variations within the four-year Delivery Program to increase revenue.

The first is a continuation and expansion of the Special Business Rate Variation Levy of $220,000 to fund business promotion and marketing activities, beginning in 2018/19.

The second is a $3 million Special Rate Variation proposed for commencement in 2019/20 that will go directly toward road maintenance and start addressing Council’s significant infrastructure backlog.

Council has to find around $7 million per year to ensure it can maintain assets adequately into the future and deal with its infrastructure backlog.

“These are tricky decisions but we cannot simply ignore the fact that our infrastructure is getting worse. It is our responsibility to future generations to ensure we are maintaining our assets for future use,” Gary said.

 “At our current rate of spending on roads, buildings and other infrastructure, we are only maintaining these assets at a rate of around 82%. As roads are important and essential to all ratepayers, our first goal is to ensure we are maintaining roads at a rate of 100%.”

The 2017/18 budget is approximately $159 million, which includes $33.6 million for roads and associated infrastructure, or 21%.

Approximately $55 million in capital works is included in the 2017/18 financial year. This includes:

  • $20.0 million upgrade of wastewater infrastructure;
  • $10.8 million on new capital roadworks;
  • $4.5 million in water infrastructure;
  • $2.5 million for waste disposal – Container Deposit Scheme; and
  • $2.3 million for waste disposal – commercial waste sorting.

There is also $721,200 for footpaths in the CBD and renewals, $735,000 for improvements at Lismore Regional Airport and $633,000 for CCTV cameras in Lismore’s CBD.

In relation to the typical residential bill, water will increase to $864 (an increase of $36 or 4.3%), wastewater to $886 (an increase of $31 or 3.6%) and integrated waste to $297.70 (an increase of $4.40 or 1.50%).

The general rate (after applying the full rate pegging increase of 1.5%) will increase the average urban residential rate by $18 to $1,169. This means the total average urban residential rates bill would rise to $3,292.

Submissions on the Imagine Lismore Community Strategic Plan and the combined Imagine Lismore Delivery Program and Operational Plan must be received by 4pm on 7 June 2017.

Submissions can be made online via our On Public Exhibition page, emailed to council@lismore.nsw.gov.au or mailed to the General Manager, Lismore City Council, PO Box 23A, Lismore NSW 2480.

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