Residents and ratepayers have one month to comment on a draft of the historic first combined Central Coast Council delivery program and operational plan for the 2018-19 financial year.
The 2018-19 Draft Delivery Program, Operational Plan, including the budget and draft Resourcing Strategy, are among a suite of documents Council has placed on exhibition for public comment after being endorsed at the May 14 Council meeting. Council aims to achieve a tiny surplus of $64,000, but an average ratepayer from the old Gosford LGA will pay $26.46 more in rates and domestic waste for the year.
Mayor Jane Smith said it was the community’s opportunity to write to Council to let them know where they’ve got it right and wrong before the plan was adopted and rates officially set on June 25. Council’s Plan will deliver $561.5m in essential services, and $199.8m in capital works, in the priority areas outlined in the first Community Strategic Plan (CSP) for the Central Coast, including the road network, water and sewer service and infrastructure, protecting and enhancing the local environment, community facilities and open space and recreation.
Mayor Smith said the draft plan was the beginning of an evolving culture within Council that was more responsive to and better reflected community priorities and aspirations in line with the Community Strategic Plan. “This is our contract with the community,” Mayor Smith said.
“It details every project and initiative we will deliver over the next year, with a strong focus on financial and environmental sustainability,” she said.
“We will be delivering just a small surplus, $64,000, as we want to invest every dollar we can on delivering the services and infrastructure our growing community have told us they need, want and value.” Hundreds of projects are planned right across the Coast in the $199.8m capital works program. Major projects include: $5.6m to upgrade Adcock Park at West Gosford. “Our community has identified their vision of where they want to see the Coast grow and be in 10 years’ time.
“This draft Operational Plan outlines a clear promise to our community, a promise we look forward to delivering.” In addition to rates and charges, the Council expects to receive $48.4m capital grants and contributions to fund its $199.8m capital works program. It is proposed that 78 per cent of operating and capital expenditure will be invested in the following priority areas: roads, transport and drainage – $186.92 m or 24.6 per cent of total spend; water and sewer will see a $196.12m total spend or 25.8 per cent of budgeted funds; waste services and business development have been allocated a total $89.92m or 11.8 per cent of total spend; open space and recreation has been allocated $45.13m or 5.9 per cent; leisure and lifestyle $16.81m or 2.2 per cent; and, waterways and coastal protection $20.01m or 2.6 per cent. Natural and environmental assets have been given a total budget of $18.2m or 2.4 per cent of total spend; learning and education $9.46m or 1.2 per cent; and, libraries $11.36m or 1.5 per cent. A rate path freeze for merged councils still applies for Central Coast Council.
This means Council is required to maintain the rate path that was last applied by the former Gosford and Wyong Councils until June 30, 2020. The freeze in the rate paths is not a freeze on the amount Council can levy by way of rates. The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) has approved an annual rate peg increase, so Council’s permissible rates income for 2018-19 is the sum of the rates income for each of the former local government areas, as if the amalgamation had not occurred, plus the allowable rate peg set by IPART. For 2018-19, IPART approved a rate peg of 2.3 per cent. Maps showing the parts of the Local Government Area to which each category and sub-category of ordinary and special rates proposed will be available at the Council’s Gosford office.
Final adoption of the delivery program and operational plan and making of rates and charges will take place at the June 25 Council meeting.
Source: Media release, May 14 Central Coast Council media Item 3.1, May 14 Central Coast Council ordinary meeting Jackie Pearson, journalist