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May 25, 2024

Ongoing challenges in RVC’s draft budget

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Richmond Valley Council says the Draft Operational Plan 2023-2024 acknowledges the challenges ahead, while maintaining vital community services.

The Draft Operational Plan, also referred to as the draft budget, includes a significant capital works program of around $40 million, with a cash surplus of $212,574 forecast for 2023-2024, followed by surpluses in the subsequent three years.

Council’s General Manager Vaughan Macdonald said the draft budget was challenging to produce, given the unpredictable economic environment.  ‘The draft budget ensures there is a focus on spending in the right areas and in the delivery of assets and projects which residents had called for.

Determined to continue delivering the services

‘Council is determined to continue delivering the services which kept Richmond Valley communities functioning, while rebuilding the local economy.

Mr Macdonald said the cost of doing business has sky rocketed in all areas. ‘Council has not been immune from the challenges of getting the number of skilled workers we need to conduct the critical work of delivering our capital and operational plans, nor have we been shielded from supply chain disruption and other inflationary pressures.

‘Despite these challenges, our capital program continues to move forward, which is all part of our plan for future service delivery requirements and creating economic growth in the Richmond Valley.’

Increases in non-controllable costs

Mr Macdonald said given the increases in non-controllable costs, such as wages, State Government levies, electricity, road-base materials, electricity, fuel, machinery costs, and insurance premiums, achieving a surplus was a commendable result.

‘Like many local businesses, we’ve worked hard to find savings on the cost of doing business, to deliver better value for money for our residents.

‘Council will continue to look at all aspects of the business to ensure the completion of the many programs and commitments endorsed by the community.

‘Council believes the right balance has been struck in the draft budget, which aims to achieve actions identified in the Community Strategic Plan, while balancing community expectations and the physical and financial resources available to Council.’

Some 2023-2024 highlights include:

•Development of the Casino-to-Bentley Rail Trail $5.5 million
•Construction of a new pit at the Nammoona Waste and Resource Recovery Facility $3.3 million
•Casino Showground upgrade $3.1 million
•Real estate development projects $2.73 million
•Sealed rural local roads and bridges renewals $1.68 million
•QE Park multi-sports community facility $1.6 million
•Reynolds Road Bridge repairs $1.28 million
•Albert Park stopover upgrade $1 million
•South Casino sewage transfer station $900,000
•Sewer relining program $800,000
•Water mains renewals $762,000
•Country Lane rehabilitation $749,000
•Willox Bridge repairs $733,000
•Illawong Lane drainage $647,000
•Lollback Bridge repairs $581,000
•Sealed regional road renewals $533,000
•Unsealed rural local roads and bridges renewals $448,000
•Colley Park netball and basketball court upgrade $320,000
•South reservoir booster station upgrade $300,000
•Casino water treatment plant process improvements $250,000
•Casino pump station eight upgrade $240,000
•Shark Bay revitalisation $213,000
•Woodburn Oval irrigation $152,000
•Stan Payne Oval cricket nets $122,000

The Draft Operational Plan 2023-2024 (including Draft Financial Estimates 2023-2027), Draft Long Term Financial Plan 2023-2033 and Draft Revenue Policy 2023-2024, along with the Draft Community Strategic Plan and Delivery Program, are on public exhibition for comment until 4pm, Wednesday 14 June.

Any person may make a written submission during the exhibition period by sending it to Richmond Valley Council by:

Posting to Locked Bag 10 Casino NSW 2470, emailing [email protected], hand delivery at either of Council’s Customer Service Centres in Casino and Evans Head, or online submission – by completing an online submission form via Council’s website.

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