Proposed 24/25 budget to super charge regional activation and jobs growth

Armidale Regional Council

A budget that focuses on a solid foundation of regional activation and supporting an ambitious target of 4000 new jobs by 2040 underpinned by fiscal responsibility and long- term financial stability has been endorsed for public exhibition at the Extraordinary Council Meeting on Monday 13 May 2024.

The Special Rate Variation (SRV), now in its second year will see a net gain in rates revenue of $3.5 million. The increase in revenue will allow council to focus on asset renewal and a long-term vision to retain future generations in the region and attract new residents through increased work opportunities, improved liveability and access to quality services.

General Manager James Roncon said the current budget strategy that commenced in the 22/23 budget, to dip into reserves to fund the budget and kick-start the infrastructure renewal program is now paying dividends.

“This approach was predicated around applying for and receiving approval for an SRV and being able to do much of the preparatory work required in the 2022-2023 financial year to take full advantage of an approved SRV so as to hit the ground running,” Mr Roncon said.

“That is because any meaningful rate increase would not come into effect until the 2024-2025 financial year, and it is at this point the financial improvement would start to be realised and ARC would be able to continue the process of building a stronger and more resilient region.”

Key initiatives of the proposed 24/25 budget are concentrated on big ticket programs that will drive growth and achieve the Council’s aspirations as a NSW regional city of significance. Council’s Water Security package is continuing in momentum with the purchase of the Oakey River Dam and ongoing advocacy to State and Federal Governments for funding.

The Planning and Activation team is continuing to deliver on Council’s desire to grow jobs and improve the regions liveability with the development of a new housing strategy, master plans for residential and employment land in Armidale, as well as master plans for the villages. Council has allocated $300,000 each for open space and community infrastructure for Armidale and Guyra, as well as $80,000 for each of the villages. Mall revitalisation, an Aquatic Precinct Strategic Plan, stage 2 of the Armidale Creeklands playground will be a focus in Armidale, while a Destination Management Plan is developed for the entire region. A Master Plan for Guyra Recreation Ground and surrounds and $70,000 worth of upgrades to Guyra Skate Park will be the focus for Guyra.

Funding allocated to rehabilitation and maintenance of rural and urban roads has also significantly increased with an additional focus on improvements to stormwater infrastructure across the Armidale and Guyra urban areas.

The Draft Operational Plan and Budget 2024-2025 will go on public exhibition for 28 days from today, Wednesday 15 May to Wednesday 12 June 2024. To view the draft documents that include: The Draft Operational Plan and Budget 2024-2025; Draft Revenue Policy 2024-2025 and the Draft Fees and Charges Schedule 2024-2025 visit council’s online engagement hub yoursay.armidale.nsw.gov.au

/Public Release. View in full here.