2016/17 Budget Introduction and Summary from the Mayor
The 2016/17 Budget has been prepared by Councillors and staff over the past two months through portfolio meetings and two full Councillor and Operational staff workshops. Cr Curr was not in attendance at the workshops due to personal commitments however Cr Curr has spent time on the Friday the 17th June and been through the full budget papers post Workshop two with myself and was in agreement with the both the operational and capital components of the proposed budget as well as the proposed rates rise.
Council has looked at a measured rates rise of 1.9% in line with the Local Government Index. This rise will increase the revenue by $82,316.21 bringing total rates revenue to $2,804,878.36.This increase in revenue is modest. During budget discussions it was highlighted that over the next six to eight months Council will have to assess the need for greater rate rises in the coming four year term to ensure solid financial management and keep pace with rising costs and impacts of decrease funding eg frozen indexation of Federal Assistance Grants.
Operational Budget sees a revenue of $33,704,236 and expenditure of $30,722,130 and provide a positive cash position at the EOFY.
Operational Services have been maintained. Council has also moved to not charge the special levy for Dog Baiting as a direct result of funding that has been received to contribute towards the cost of the program.
Council has maintained an allocation of $1,050,000 for road maintenance and the McKinlay Shire Roads Strategy has been utilised by Engineering to inform this program as well as capital improvements of shire roads. Some new programs such as the Shire Drought Weed Initiative of $360,000 and Virtual Tourism Initiative will also be rolled out.
This budget has a significant capital works program for the year which is reflective of the funding allocations from State and Federal Government for projects such as the Punchbowl Bridge, Works identified from the Federal $1.5 million Drought Funding allocated towards the end of 2015/16 and the finalisation of the Julia Creek Community Precinct (Hall) Project.
Council has ensured that all the capital works proposed are financially responsible, providing economic and communitybenefit long term, renewing assets where possible and importantly balanced with affordable whole of life costs.
The Capital Works Budget is $14,068,740 with a total of $7,862,872 received through funding allocations from State and Federal Governments. Some identified projects have committed funding and some are dependant on successful funding allocations which will be re assessed either during the financial year or at Mid Year Review if the funding sought is not approved .
The following identifies the road projects that are to be completed in 2016/17
- New Punchbowl Bridge
- Works on the Malpas Trenton Road
- New Sealing on Taldora Road
- New Sealing Punchbowl Road
- New Sealing Nelia Bunda Road
Other Capital Projects include (not all the projects are listed here just a snapshot):
- Completion of significant upgrade to Community Precinct in Julia Creek
- Additional amenities block to allow for Julia Creek Caravan Park Expansion and new Artesian Spa to attract increased visitation
- Upgrade amenities block at Kev Bannah Oval to support increased infrastructure within the precinct
- Renew current Sewage Treatment Plant to meet standards and allow for future expansion
- Extension of Burke Street Car Shade Structures
- New Depot and Accommodation McKinlay
- New Bore at McKinlay
- Upgrade works at Kynuna for water
- Peter Dawes Park Play area
- McIntyre Park Play Area and Safe Walk Way
- Community Building Upgrades
- Corporate Building Upgrades
In the area of future planning Council will be undertaking a new Planning Scheme and has also allocated funds for an Economic Development Plan.
Council has continued to maintain a strong reserve of $1.3 million allocated as per below:
Roads and Reseals $530,000
It is anticipated that Council will become debt free by end of June 2017.
Overall this budget is aimed stimulating the economy through capital projects that will provide long term benefit and continue to grow the shire whilst maintain strong and responsible financial management for future. Services have been maintained some of which have only been introduced within the last two years.
There has been a continued focus on community services/programs and support for emerging industries such as Tourism which support the local businesses.