The Free Press (Corowa)
Council aims for 8% rate rise
Federation Council’s draft annual 2021/2022 budget provides for a rate increase of 8%, comprising the state rate peg of 2% plus council’s proposed 6% Special Rate Variation (SRV) in connection with the Corowa’s new $10.2 aquatic centre.
Council expects to hear by mid-May as to whether its SPR submission seeking a 6% increase has been successful, which would mean an extra $65.52 ratepayers would pay on each owned property in 2021/2022, and which was the subject of public meetings in February.
At an extraordinary meeting yesterday, Federation Council unanimously agreed to the draft annual budget which represents the first year of its Long-Term Financial Plan.
Council’s draft Delivery Program and Operational Plan, and Long-Term Financial Plan are available for public viewing for 28 days, from today until June 2 before being formally adopted at council’s monthly meeting on June 15.
Dates of community meetings to hear firsthand from council are listed at the foot of this story.
At yesterday’s meeting, councillors applauded their director corporate and community services Jo Shannon and her team for the detailed and comprehensive work in preparing all the documents.
Cr Fred Longmire asked if the long-term plan of 10 years locks council into the plan, bearing in mind council’s next election – the second since formation of Federation Council in 2016 – will be in September this year.
Ms Shannon advised the 2021/2022 budget locks council in but whilst the long-term plan does not, it provides a guide to council’s operations and helps the organisation meet community demands for services and infrastructure by maximising what it can achieve with its available resources.
Federation Council Mayor Patrick Bourke said the overall plans’ primary focus was to ensure council services are sustainable into the future, while delivering on the many major projects outlined in the Community Strategic Plan.
Major services and
2021/2022 budget are:
• the $10.6million Corowa Saleyards upgrade over two years, providing improved animal welfare and environmental outcomes
• a $16m Capital Works Program in addition
to carry forward projects from 2020/21: – roads, bridges and footpaths $6.5m – sewerage and water $5.8m
• significant roads management and maintenance
• construction continuation of the $3.3m
Corowa to Mulwala Cycleway initiatives in the
• Flood Management Plan finalisation for
Urana and surrounding areas
• Integrated Water Cycle Management Plan
• council wide Waste Management strategy
finalisation and implementation.
Under the heading of ‘Economic Federation’, council has listed the progressing of sales of industrial lots in the Howlong and Mulwala Business Parks, as well as:
• identifying opportunities for further industrial land development in Corowa • implementing the new North of the Murray
• finalising the update of council’s Economic
• seeking funding for upgrades to the Ball
Park Caravan Park Corowa
• Progressing Sanger Street
Regarding sustainable rural landscapes and waterways offering tranquillity and attractive recreational spaces, council lists maintenance of its extensive network of parks, gardens and recreation reserves, as well as:
• commencing delivery of the $2.6m Corowa
• commencing operation of the new Corowa
Aquatic Centre facility
• working with Landcare and Local Land Services for weed management and bush regeneration
• providing waste collection and recycling services across the Council area
• developing a Master Plan for the Howlong
In respect of ‘Social Federation’, council refers to implementing the Ageing Well Strategy and:
• commencing operation of the new Urana
Aquatic Leisure Centre
• continuing to foster leadership within the
Federation Youth Council
• continuing to support the Arts and Culture
• supporting the work of the Community
Drug Action Team
• providing a Community Grants Program that supports community ownership of local events and initiatives
• providing mobile preschool services in the northern Council area (Boree Creek, Daysdale, Oaklands, Rand, Urana)
• providing library services across the Council area (Corowa, Howlong, Mulwala, mobile library)
Federation Council’s 10-year Long-Term Financial Plan provides an Annual Budget for 2021/22 and financial projections through to June 2031, supporting the aforementioned program of initiatives.
Council’s director corporate and community services Jo Shannon said that with the opening of significant new community facilities through 2020 and 2021, increased operating and maintenance expenditure required to support usage and renewal of the facilities into the future poses a challenge given the level of council’s existing revenue streams.
“Given the NSW Government Stronger Communities Fund provided council with a once-off cash injection to create new community infrastructure projects and set a strong foundation for the betterment of council and its communities, council undertook a comprehensive review of its financial position through the development of the Long-Term Financial Plan to identify funding strategies for the future,” she said.
“This plan continues to be refined as grant funding is secured for key infrastructure, internal asset data improves and the external operating environment changes, for example, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Foreshadowed in the Long-Term Financial Plan are varying levels of SRV in future years to accommodate increased investment in infrastructure and to ensure the council area continues to progress and position itself as a growing and financially sustainable Council in line with community expectations.
“There will be opportunity for community feedback on any proposed changes as this progresses,” Ms Shannon said.
“This is anticipated to lead into the development of the next four-year Delivery Program
- which follows the September 2021 local government elections - which will require extensive engagement with the community on its priorities and the associated level of rate increase.
“At the same time, council officers are focused on council’s financial sustainability.”
Community budget sessions will also be conducted throughout the Federation Council area.
The schedule for these sessions is as follows: Monday 10 May Corowa Oddfellows Hall, Corowa 5.30pm - 7.30pm
Tuesday 11 May Howlong Howlong Multipurpose Hall & Gymnasium 5.30pm - 7.30pm
Thursday 13 May Morundah Paradise Palladium Theatre, Morundah 5.30pm - 7.30pm
Monday 17 May Mulwala Mulwala Civic Centre 5.30pm - 7.30pm
Thursday 20 May Urana Urana Council Chambers 5.30pm - 7.30pm
Wednesday 26 May Oaklands Memorial Hall Oaklands 5.30pm - 7.30pm
Pre-registration will be required to ensure that events are conducted in a COVID-safe manner.
Any submissions received will be considered at the June 2021 council meeting.