Latest report card shows council “bustling in every sector”
The completion of the Orange Regional Museum, raising Suma Park Dam wall, a multi-million dollar re-vamp of an airport hangar for the Orange emergency helicopter service, the completion of a new pavilion at the Orange showground and the start of a 61 kilometre pipeline from Orange to Carcoar, were the highlights of the financial year for Orange City Council.
Orange Mayor Reg Kidd said the 2016/17 annual report was a valuable, once a year report card for the Council and the latest report showed the city was bustling in every sector.
It also showed council had a net operating surplus of more than $34 million.
“There was growth and progress across the board,” Cr Kidd said.
“In the tourism sector we had regional airline Fly Corporate announce the commencement of scheduled direct weekday flights between Orange and Brisbane, and the company has now added flights to Melbourne.
“Council approved a new Orange Regional Tourism Strategy which included the establishment of a new Visitors Information Centre, regional workshops, as well as getting an industry-led tourism entity off the ground.
“Orange was featured in Better Homes and Gardens, Fox Sports, Qantas on line, Sydney Weekender and of course received the coveted Mayfair spot on the Australian Monopoly board.
“It was also a big year for arts, culture and recreation with our Orange Civic Theatre winning the coveted Drover Award for the best regional performing arts centre of the year.”
Cr Kidd said several of Council’s major projects such as the raising of the dam wall , the museum and the Orange to Carcoar pipeline were high-profile and very visible projects but there was a “phenomenal amount” going on in the background.
“I’m proud Orange City Council was able to donate more than $300,000 to community events and community groups throughout the year.
“These organisations are the heart and soul of our community and it’s wonderful we can support them in supporting those who most need it.”
During the year there were 137,025 visits to the Orange Aquatic Centre, 56,301 visits to the Orange Civic Theatre and more than 500 development applications were processed.
Earthworks started at the city’s largest ever residential land release at Shiralee and several events have been held at the new 80m x 33m pavilion at the showground.
In the business development sector, Council launched two programs to help support local businesses, the Grow Local and Shop Orange campaigns.
“We had a strong focus on jobs creation using those two programs,” Cr Kidd said.
“The Grow Local program helped businesses expand or start while Shop Orange was focused on securing retail spending in the city.”
When it came to road upgrades, the record rain during the 2016 winter meant the works crews had a mammoth task ahead, Cr Kidd said.
“Our works crews went flat-out getting through the huge list of road projects, which as anyone who drives on Orange’s roads can attest, has made a difference.
“For example many people have probably already forgotten what Byng Street and William Street were like before council crews and contractors got in there and completed those projects.”
Cr Kidd said the community can rest assured the financial position of the Council is sound and secure with an operating surplus of more than $34 million.
“Council was audited by the Audit Office of NSW, which found Council was in a good position when it came to looking at operating revenue compared to operating expenditure, Council’s ability to pay its debts and its ability to run without relying on grants,” Cr Kidd said.
“It was an excellent result and showed there has been good financial management of Council’s assets and investments.
“Overall it was an incredibly productive financial year and the previous Council can be proud of the work it achieved.
“But there’s little time to rest on our laurels as we plunge into the future with community consultation under way for our blue-print ten year plan.”