15 May 2019
Orange residents have one month to have a say on the 2019/20 budget after Councillors voted to put the draft plan on exhibition.
The draft delivery/operational plan delivers a modest surplus, includes funding for large-scale projects such as the CBD upgrade, Sir Jack Brabham Park playground and community buildings, as well as $1 million towards a road reseal program and $75,000 towards an upgrade at Gosling Creek.
Orange Mayor Reg Kidd said there were several big-ticket items but in some cases, part of the funding was dependent on grants from the state and federal government.
“Many of these projects are ‘shovel-ready’ and it’s vital we have the money put aside on the eventuality these grants are awarded to us,” Cr Kidd said.
‘Alongside these high-profile initiatives, it’s good that we’re also planning to tackle more maintenance of local community facilities like the Adventure playground, the ELF, the Botanic Gardens buildings and car parks, and tree replacement.”
Orange City Council’s Finance Committee Chair Cr Joanne McRae said the Council was in a sound financial position.
“This budget will aim to deliver the high standard of service Orange residents expect, taking the increases in rates in line with state government limits,” Cr McRae said.
“It’s important to note that the draft budget includes a number of projects which are contingent on state or federal grant funding. Council will need to ensure we have funds available to meet any co-funding requirements when grants are successful, and we will make decisions about funding through loans or reserves when only part-funding is received.”
“When compared to the state average, Orange City Council spends more per capita on environment, community, recreational, cultural, library and community safety services.”
Overall, residential rates will increase by an average of$1.34 a week, or $69.62 per year, including water and sewer.
Business rates will increase by an average of $253.71 per year or $4.88 per week.
Rates will increase by 2.98 %. On top of the NSW Government’s rate-pegging limit of 2.7% is an amount to deal with the expected extra costs of dealing with waste.
At the end of August this year, a NSW Government subsidy, put in place to deal with the impact of the China Sword Policy on Australian recycled waste, comes to an end. The ongoing processing costs of and extra $60.00/tonne have to be met through a necessary increase on the domestic recycling charge. Council and Netwaste are continuing to investigate alternative options for processing recycled waste.
Some budget highlights* include:
Cr McRae said the Council had recently made significant savings in terms of charges through phone use and insurance and it will continue to investigate opportunities to save money.
“A major focus moving forward for the Council will be to identify new efficiency opportunities to reduce the impact of price growth while accommodating growing community expectations,” she said.
“The proposed list of council ‘Fees and Charges’ is an important part of the budget for people to look at. If there’s a community facility you’re using regularly, you can check the proposed fees for the coming year and have your say in a budget submission.”
The draft delivery/operational plan will be on exhibition for community comment until 12 June.
*Note that some projects are subject to securing government grants, and some are to be delivered over a number of years.
The period for community consultation on the 2019 Draft Budget has concluded. A report on the community response will be considered by staff and presented to the 25 June council meeting.