Operational Plan and budget 2024-25 on exhibition: Bega Valley

Public exhibition of Bega Valley Shire Council’s draft Delivery Program 2022-25, Operational Plan 2024-25 and budget, draft Fees and Charges 2024-25, draft Long Term Financial Plan 2024-33 and the June 2024 update of the Strategic Asset Management Plan 2022-25 begins today.

Under the NSW Integrated Planning and Reporting (IP&R) framework, Councils are required to implement a four-year Delivery Program and an annual Operational Plan and budget, along with annual Fees and Charges.

As part of the budget setting process for next financial year, Council has also reviewed and updated its Long Term Financial Plan (LTFP) and Strategic Asset Management Plan.

Council’s CEO, Anthony McMahon said Councillors will decide on the final budget allocations for the 2024-25 financial year in June, after the public exhibition concludes on Wednesday 5 June.

“In reviewing these documents, it’s important to keep in mind the long-term financial sustainability of Council,” Mr McMahon said.

“We are acutely aware the decisions we make will benefit not only the community now, but also in the future.

“We manage assets valued at more than $1.9 billion and our road network alone is 1,500kms. It’s important to maintain our assets and spend wisely now or we risk further deterioration, costing us much more in the long run.

“We have a 4.9% increase in most fees and charges. The fees and charges also introduce the new internment levy commencing on 1 July 2024. This is being collected by Council and passed on to fund Cemeteries and Crematoria NSW to support and regulate the sector.

“Waste Services and Water and Sewer Service fees will increase to 6.9% due to the volume of current and future capital projects and service requirements, balanced with a recognition of escalating construction costs.”

Mr McMahon said the LTFP provides the blueprint for future delivery of works and services, with a background of affordability and long-term financial sustainability.

“As the LFTP outlines, even with the current Special Rate Variation (SRV), Council is not able to remain financially sustainable,” Mr McMahon said.

“Rising costs exceed our capacity to generate income and meet the needs of our community with service provision and asset maintenance.

“In light of this, our LTFP models three options, which includes the second year SRV of 19.6% that was approved by IPART and adopted by Council in June 2023.

“The second year SRV includes an assumed 2.5% rate peg and the new rateable property assessments.

“We have an updated rates calculator on our website to help property owners calculate their rates. This calculator is based on the 2022 land valuations data and helps to calculate the impact of the SRV on your rates.”

Mr McMahon said the Operational Plan includes more than 200 projects and activities that will continue to deliver Council’s core services, focusing on building resilience for the organisation and the community.

“We are committed to ongoing improvement and planning as pathways to overcome challenging times.

“We will continue our advocacy and collaborative work with funding agencies and all levels of government to seek investment in road, recreation asset projects, emergency preparedness, improved digital connectivity, water and sewer treatment facilities, climate change adaptation and affordable housing.

“Local Government elections will take place in September and this planning document will set the foundation for the newly elected Council.

“Councillors elected in September will work with staff to develop a new suite of planning documents to guide their four-year Council term.”

To provide feedback on the draft Delivery Program, Operational Plan and budget, draft Fees and Charges, draft Long Term Financial Plan 2024-33 and the updated Strategic Asset Management Plan 2022-25, go to the Have Your Say page on the Council website.

Hard copies are also available for review at all Council libraries.

Feedback closes on Wednesday 5 June.

/Public Release. View in full here.