Council’s future plans on public exhibition

Media release - 1 June 2017

Improvements to beach reserves and caravan parks, as well as increased sporting facilities and investigations into an alternative bridge across the Macleay, are just some of the major projects contained in Kempsey Shire Council’s forward plans.

At an extraordinary meeting held late last week Council resolved to place the suite of Integrated Planning documents, including the Operating Plan for next financial year and the Delivery Program for this term of Council, on public exhibition.

Kempsey Shire Council Mayor Liz Campbell says the ambitious plans look to balance road maintenance and ongoing service delivery alongside the desire to invest in the future growth of the Macleay.

“We want to make the Macleay Valley a place of choice, where people live, visit and invest. This can be achieved by attracting more residents and visitors to the area and supporting new housing and business opportunities for the Valley.

“That’s why we are proposing significant investment into our key reserves, beach areas and caravan parks. Council wants to assist economic growth and help our area be better known for our great lifestyle and liveable, connected community,” said Mayor Campbell.

The draft documents on exhibition include the budget statements for next financial year and the 10 year Long Term Financial Plan.

According to General Manager David Rawlings, funding the projects in the four-year Delivery Program will require efficient operations from Council and an investment from the community.

“We will continue to seek a further $1.5 million in operational savings through our Service Review program. This is on top of the $3 million in savings identified over the last four years.

“A stormwater levy of $25 has been proposed to commence in July 2017 for households connected to the urban stormwater network, which will fund new and replacement drainage systems,” said Mr Rawlings.

The financial plan proposes borrowing around $7 million from 2018 onwards, to fund significant investment in renewing and refurbishing the passive and active community spaces.

It is proposed to repay these loans through a Special Rate Variation of 4% applied annually to rates over four years, commencing in the 2018-2019 financial year.

“At this stage we want community feedback on the projects and the vision as well as the proposed funding plan.

“Over the next six months we will then conduct extensive community engagement and complete the detailed analysis required ahead of a formal application to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) for a Special Rate Variation,” said Mr Rawlings.

The community investment through a rate increase would not be applied until mid-2018, to coincide with starting work on the major projects outlined in the Delivery Program.

Mayor Campbell confirmed that for the coming financial year Council will continue delivering the services that have seen an increase in the community’s satisfaction level.

“It is critical that we keep maintaining and improving our biggest asset, the road network. But if that is all we do, we won’t see growth and increased social and economic opportunities,” said Cr Campbell.

The community is invited to review the draft planning documents and have their say by making submissions to Council. Documents are available from Council offices and online at http://yoursay.macleay.nsw.gov.au 

Submissions can be made in writing to the General Manager or online and must be received by 22nd June, 2017.