News

Foreshore in budget

by
May 31, 2017

Berrigan Shire Council has put forward a proposed budget for 2017-2018 that will see it deliver a cash deficit of $856 000.

Berrigan Shire Council has put forward a proposed budget for 2017-2018 that will see it deliver a cash deficit of $856000.

Council corporate services director Matt Hansen said it would allow council to deliver on its commitment to improve and upgrade the foreshore at Tocumwal.

Other community facility capital works are also proposed in the draft operational plan, as well as an extensive roadworks program.

Mr Hansen said despite council’s planned spending resulting in a cash deficit, council is expecting the 2017-2018 financial year to deliver a net operation surplus of $877000 after deprecation of assets is added.

Mr Hanson said the completion of the Tocumwal foreshore project would depend on government funding, but council was keen to start the upgrades in the next financial year.

He said council was even prepared to source a loan for the project if required.

‘‘It is a $3.25million project overall, and we are seeking government funding of between $1.2million and $1.6million.

‘‘The community has already pledged $300000 to the project — $200000 from the Foreshore Committee and $100000 from the Tocumwal Community Development Committee.

‘‘Council will invest $826000 of its own cash from its working capital and, if needed, will borrow $500000.

‘‘The project does depend on us being able to obtain grants, but even without that commitment from the government we will look at starting the project in stages.

‘‘Our preference is to have it all done in one hit to minimise the impacts, but we will pursue stages over five to six years if we have to.’’

Berrigan Shire Council has already applied for $1.6million for the project under the Building Better Regions Program. Successful applicants are expected to be notified in June.

Designs for the project are already completed, with the next stage to include a splash park and play space.

Stage three of the master plan is to create a river walk, with subsequent stages including streetscape works, the development of an amphitheatre and improvement to the visitor information centre — to create a second storey — and the town square.

The final stage will be flood protection levee upgrades.

Mr Hansen said other capital works outlined in the draft operational plan include $150000 to provide toilets, a barbecue facility and improved seating at the Railway Park in Finley.

Based on community requests, $50000 has also been allocated to build toilet facilities at the Finley and Barooga cemeteries.

The budget sets aside $391000 for a proposed Finley School of Arts Hall upgrade.

Roads to be upgraded in the next financial year include rural roads like Crosbies Rd (almost $600000) and Barnes Rd (almost $600000), and Finley’s McAllister Rd ($120000).

Council will also spend $200000 in 2017-18 to upgrade town levees based on the post-2016 flood review.

Mr Hansen said council agreed to set aside $50000 each year, with the allocation to be used to attract matching government funding.

‘‘The floods last year gave us an opportunity to review the performance of our levees.

‘‘We found a number of trees had grown into the levees, which not only provides a path for the water to seep through but if they were to fall over it would compromise the levee.

‘‘We expect this to be a multi-million dollar project over time, and we’ll continue to set aside that $50000 a year until it is completed. It could be as long as 10 years.’’

The budget and operational plan outlines that general rates in Berrigan Shire will increase by 1.5 per cent in the next financial year, and that most other rates and charges will increase by 2.5 per cent.

The average general rate for farmland will be $2025, $634 for residential rural and $783 for urban properties.

The domestic waste charge will increase to $279 a year.

The NSW Government-imposed stormwater management charge remains at $25 per serviced property, and sewerage charges will increase to $526/year.

The water access charge has increased to $523/year, with usage charges ranging from 0.47¢/kilolitre used to 94¢/kilolitre, depending on townships and whether the water is treated or unfiltered.

●The draft operational plan can be viewed online at www.berrigan.nsw.gov.au or at council offices and shire libraries.

Submissions will be accepted until 5pm on Thursday, June 15.

The final budget is expected to be adopted at the June 21 meeting.

—Zoe McMaugh.

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