Wingecarribee Shire Councillors have adopted the Operational Plan and Budget for the upcoming 2019/20 Financial Year.
The draft 2019/20 Operational Plan and Budget generated significant community feedback which resulted in Council amending its funding strategy for its five-year in-principle support of a Regional Art Gallery.
“I’m pleased to say that Council listened to the concerns of residents when our initial Art Gallery funding proposal was suggested,” Mayor Gair said. “As a result we’ve re-affirmed our commitment to the Environment Levy and adopted an alternative funding approach for the gallery.”
Council’s award winning Environment Levy has been in place since 2000 and is used to fund specific environmental projects and programs which aim to address biodiversity conservation, river health, wetland improvements and sustainable living.
While the Mayor welcomed the changes to next year’s budget, reflecting the strong public sentiment towards the Environment Levy, Mayor Gair expressed disappointment with the late notification by the NSW State Government of a significant increase in Council’s contribution towards emergency services and its impact on Council’s budget position.
“In my opinion the late notification by the State Government of this increase will have resulted in all councils across NSW having to re-adjust their budgets after they had been placed on public exhibition,” he said.
“As a result Council has determined that we’ll adopt a Budget deficit of $123,000, which effectively represents the shortfall in funding Council had allocated towards its annual contributions towards emergency services.”
Despite this late adjustment, Mayor Duncan Gair said this year’s Operational Plan and Budget continued to demonstrate Council’s strong financial position.
“This year’s Operational Plan and Budget is not only fiscally responsible but shows that Council is looking ahead and planning for future growth and opportunity,” he said.
“Our record investment in major infrastructure projects should be particularly welcomed by our residents as these improvements will deliver real benefits for decades to come.”
Key figures from Council’s budget forecasts include:
- $11.8 million to be spent over the next four years on gravel re-sheeting and road resealing,
- $13.6 million to be allocated towards major upgrades of Merrigang Street and Old South Road in Bowral and Throsby Street in Moss Vale,
- $18.4 million earmarked over four years for Shire-wide drainage renewals and upgrades, and
- $77 million towards major upgrades of the Mittagong, Bowral and Moss Vale Sewage Treatment Plants.
To view some of the commonly asked questions raised during the exhibition of this year’s documents, and Council’s responses, visit www.wsc.nsw.gov.au/future.