Council’s draft 2016/17 Budget highlights top priority projects for the community
11 May 2016
Willoughby Council last night received the draft Delivery Program, Operational Plan and Budget for 2016-2017, and gave approval to place the plan on public exhibition. The plan incorporates the services and projects to be delivered in what will be the final year of the 2013-2017 Delivery Plan. Estimates of income and expenditure and a schedule of fees and charges are also included.
The budget, which is geared towards infrastructure spend, has been positively impacted by operational savings largely achieved through the 2015 organisational restructure and efficiency gains driven by the business improvement initiatives.
The budget represents good news for ratepayers with key highlights including:
- A budget surplus
- Annual rates in line with the Special Rate Variation
- No increases in domestic waste service charges
- Minimal fee increases whenever possible
- A reduction in the number of employees, contractors and consultants while continuing to deliver services
- Spending of $26.323M on project and capital works
- $2.980M reduction in loan liabilities
Significant expenditure for works and projects are proposed in the following categories:
- Parks, playgrounds and sporting fields - $5.4 million
- Culture and Leisure - $5.7 million
- Environmental projects - $2.9 million
- Roads, bridges, footpaths, stormwater and traffic - approximately $7.5 million
Some key projects proposed for 2016/17 include:
$10.5M – Council will commence Stage One of the planned redevelopment of community recreation and sporting facilities at Gore Hill Park, St Leonards. Stage One plans for the site include reshaping the parkland and connection to the adjacent Gore Hill Cemetery, cycle-ways and pedestrian paths, enhancement of the Blue Gum high forest, conversion of the current turf oval into a synthetic playing surface, construction of change and storage rooms, storm water detention facility, regional playground and outdoor sports court. Funding for Stage Two, development of a sports and community centre, is currently being sourced and will be included in the Long Term Financial Plan for 2016/17 and 2017/18.
$4M – a joint venture in planning between Council and the Department of Education will progress conversion of Chatswood High School Oval. Works to the site include asbestos remediation, conversion of the current turf oval to a synthetic surface and upgrades to lighting, car park, access paths and change rooms. The project will result in a significant increase in the capacity of the site to address high recreation and sports demand in the Region.
$287,000 - Council has a resolution to produce 20% renewable energy by 2020. Having completed the 166kW Solar Farm, The Concourse will house the next large Council owned solar array for Chatswood. The Concourse has a large, well oriented roof space and the 171kW system is expected to have a 5 year payback period, save around $37,000 and 212 tonnes of CO2 per year.
The holistic approach to Council’s budget management will see Council continue to increase internal efficiency and implement better business processes in the next financial year. The budget focuses on delivery of key infrastructure projects and the services and facilities required and expected by the community” said Willoughby Mayor Gail Giles-Gidney.
“Cost savings made in the previous year through efficiencies and restructure, combined with Council’s drive to deliver on projects that will enhance our community, positions Willoughby Council strongly into the future,” Mayor Gail said.
The Draft Operational Plan and Budget will be made available online through the Have Your Say Willoughby website (www.haveyoursaywilloughby.com.au) and in hard copy at Council reception and Chatswood and branch libraries. The exhibition period will run for 28 days, beginning 12 May and concluding 8 June 2016. The community can provide feedback through Have Your Say Willoughby, or in writing addressed to the General Manager.
All feedback received will be reviewed before the final Operational Plan and Budget is presented to Council for adoption on 27 June 2016.
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