Byron Shire Council has released its 2016 budget, with some fanfare, claiming roads and public spaces remain the key focus for it in the coming year.
And mayor Simon Richardson says the coming 12 months will see council ‘firmly tasked with getting on with fixing roads, public spaces and completing the coastal zone management plan’.
The main item in the $27.3 million budget will be the controversial Byron Bay Bypass, with the other main contender for a long-awaited upgrade being Broken Head Road.
Other items in the capital works program include the Shara Boulevard sports fields at Ocean Shores, the construction of a much-needed roundabout at Massinger Street, Byron Bay, and a new causeway for Main Arm.
‘Plus we have the finalisation of key planning documents including the Byron Bay Town Centre Masterplan, rural and residential land strategies, and the coastal zone management plan,’ said mayor Richardson .
The 2015/16 budget has $5million allocated for roads and drainage maintenance, $3.6million on parks and sport field maintenance, $1.4 million on libraries, $7million on water, $10.9million on sewer and $5.4 million on waste.
General Manager Ken Gainger said the focus of the budget had been on not asking ratepayers for more than the 2.4 per cent increase allowed under rate pegging.
‘With a forecast balanced budget and an accumulated surplus (working funds) sitting at $1.95 million, the budget’s stronger bottom line was a result of a detailed review of council’s operations to achieve savings and efficiencies.
‘For the past two financial years, and the next two, our focus is firmly on finding new recurrent revenue sources and reviewing expenditure.
‘There’s a lot more work to be done, but we are well on our way to becoming financially sustainable and will continue to look closely at our assets to see where we generate income into our infrastructure renewal fund,’ Mr Gainger said.
- Byron Bay Bypass
- Shara Boulevard sport fields
- Rural and Residential Lands Strategy
- Byron Bay town centre CCTV
- Tom Kendall Oval change rooms
- Massinger Street roundabout
- finalisation of the plan for ‘two-lanes in’ at Shirley Street, Byron Bay
- additional funding for parks and street maintenance in Byron Bay
- Main Arm causeway upgrade
- Broken Head Road upgrade
- traffic control at Clifford Street, Suffolk Park
- organics waste collection and bin rollout
- new recycling centre at Byron Resource Recovery Centre
- steam weeding and graffiti removal initiatives
- lighting upgrade at Main Beach, Byron Bay
- lighting upgrade at Schultz Oval, Bangalow
- Wategos Beach footpath extension
- Byron Bay Town Centre Masterplan
General rates will increase by 2.4 per cent as per the IPART rate-pegging determination for 2015/2016. Byron Shire ratepayers can expect their rates to rise by a total of 3.41 per cent which equates to about $113 for an average residential property.
Other Byron Shire Council rate increases for 2015/16 include:
- Water fixed charges and consumption charges increased by 12.90 per cent and 4.3 per cent respectively.
- Sewer fixed charges and consumption charges increased by 2.82 per cent and 2.31 per cent respectively.
- Domestic Waste has dropped by -7.59 per cent with a new charge $35 charge introduced for waste operations.
The draft 2015/16 Operational Plan, Budget, Fees and Charges is on public exhibition until 4 June and the community is encouraged to review the documents and make a submission.