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Byron Shire
September 26, 2021

Lismore Council set to increase fees, cut costs in a bid to balance budget

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Paul Bibby

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.

Lismore Cr Vanessa Ekins. Photo David Lowe.

‘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


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5 COMMENTS

  1. No comment on the 20 million plus being borrowed for infrastructure support for the north Lismore Plateau development

  2. Sell or lease the water and sewerage and use the profit to repair the roads and have a sinking fund to provide funds to properly maintain the roads.

    This could transform Lismore into a leader in alternative management strategies for water supply, and this could lead to a large business in Lismore, providing management services to water suppliers across the country.

  3. The LCC should be living within it’s mean’s, instead of changing car’s every two year’s and look at the perks the staff are receiving like car’s, lunches etc.
    There is a lot of money that can be saved, instead of spending $250,000 on the boat on Woodlark Street that $250,000 could have been used for something else it’s called priorities, instead of slugging rate payer’s how about looking at your expenditure first.

  4. Don’t go taking on the C-M Rail Corridor — the rail corridor’s service and maintenance costs will land council further in debt. Take a chill pill — and at least ask the ratepayers and community at September Local Council Elections with a Council plebiscite: what they need, and whether they trust council to invest money in a project that will further increase outgoings with no money coming back.

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