Lismore City Council is set to increase fees and charges and cut spending in an attempt to overcome a $19.5m operating deficit.
The Council this morning released its draft budget for the 2021-2022 financial year, which was given preliminary approval at last night’s meeting and will go on public exhibition from June 10.
‘The result is a draft budget that gives a very honest and transparent snapshot of Council’s financial position,’ Mayor Vanessa Ekins (Greens) said.
‘Unfortunately, it is not a good position as the cost of maintaining our assets for exceeds the rates, fees and other revenue Council receives by $19.5 million before capital grants.
‘This means it has been a very hard budget to put together and Councillors have made many tough decisions, with many more ahead for whoever is elected in September so that we can address this substantial operating deficit.’
Ms Ekins said the deficit meant that, in the short-term, Council was heavily reliant on Government grants to improve the Shire’s roads, and that the substantial backlog of works would remain unaddressed until the deficit was overcome.
The draft budget proposes selling a number of Council-owned properties to generate about $2 million, a reduction in consultant, legal and labour hire expenditure.
There is also a plan to increase fees and charges.
In addition the budget proposes an increase in spending on IT to improve internal efficiencies that will reduce overall costs and improve ratepayer and community experience.
The core of the draft budget is a $66 million capital works program, including:
- Roads & Associated Activities – Infrastructure $31,980,600
- Parks & Recreation – Infrastructure $8,286,600
- Wastewater – Infrastructure $7,682,800
- Water – Infrastructure $5,933,300
- Waste Disposal – Capping, Leachate, landfill planning, Internal roads and Compliance issues $5,089,000
- Wooden Bridges – Replacement Projects $4,372,600
- Plant Replacement Program $1,488,500
- Emergency Services – Bushfire Recovery $235,000
- Quarry – Precoat Plant $220,900
- Lismore Regional Airport – Infrastructure $200,000
- Asset Management – Infrastructure works $198,200
- Stormwater Management Services $153,000
- GSAC – Pool Filter Renewal $80,000
- Survey & Design Equipment $4000
The Draft Budget will go on Public Exhibition for community submissions from 10 May to 7 June. It will then go back to Council for adoption in June.
The community can make submissions from 10 May by going to www.yoursay.lismore.nsw.gov.au