THIS month’s Richmond Valley Council meeting received a range of reports which outline Council’s delivery and financial plans for the future.
The Rebuilding the Richmond Valley Delivery Program sets out Council’s vision to help restore its community over the next three years, in partnership with residents, business owners, disaster support agencies and State and Federal governments. The Delivery Program is accompanied by a four-year capital works program for the period 2022-2026 and a one-year Operational Plan outlining Council’s budget for 2022-2023.
General Manager Vaughan Macdonald said the plan was not just to rebuild, but to build back better and stronger, so Council and the community were ready to face the next challenge and embrace the next opportunity.
Mr Macdonald said the document was a three-year recovery plan which took real steps to address residents’ concerns.
He said the prolonged wet conditions were making repairs to all infrastructure, especially the local road network, difficult and Council shared the community’s frustrations.
He said the rebuilding plan prioritised infrastructure restoration and the economic recovery of our towns and villages, while ensuring Council kept sight of delivering the core services the community expected.
“Council is working with the affected communities to understand their needs, and also developing plans for the future of their towns,” Mr Macdonald said.
“We have activated advisory groups to ensure there is a true collaboration and communities can share their valuable input.”
Mr Macdonald said despite Council having faced a number of challenges during the past 12 months, the capital works program demonstrated Council’s desire to continue to deliver for the community whilst rebuilding flood-affected areas.
He said the works program included vital road projects, real estate development, and upgrades to water, sewer and waste infrastructure.
It also includes special projects such as the rail trail, Casino Showground, and the Casino Memorial Pool upgrade – all vital projects in the revitalisation of our area.
“The Draft Operational Plan, which includes the Draft Financial Estimates 2022-2026, delivers an unrestricted cash surplus of just over $250,000 in 2022-2023, with projected surpluses across the remaining three year forward estimates,” Mr Macdonald said.
“This is the final year of the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal approved 5.5 percent special rate variation increase, which has enabled Council to move towards a break-even operating result before capital grants and contributions, which is the benchmark set by the NSW Office of Local Government.
“The draft budget has been prepared at a challenging time when the full impacts of the February-March floods are still being assessed and many issues are yet to be resolved.
“Council expects there will be increasing clarity on the scale of the damage and repairs required, and the level of financial assistance available, as the 2022-23 financial year unfolds.”
Mr Macdonald reminded residents Council had special financial hardship policies in place to support those who were experiencing difficulty paying their rates.
He urged those residents to contact Council to discuss a possible payment arrangement, or make an application under Council’s Financial Hardship Policy.
“Residents who are facing financial hardship are able apply to Council to delay payments to support their recovery,” Mr Macdonald said.
The below draft documents will be on public exhibition until 4.30 pm, Tuesday 14 June. Copies are available at Council’s Customer Experience centres in Casino and Evans Head, and are also available on Council’s website under the On Exhibition tab.
• Rebuilding the Richmond Valley
• Operational Plan 2022-2023 (including Draft Financial Estimates 2022-2026)
• Long Term Financial Plan 2022-2032
• Revenue Policy 2022-2023
• Model Code of Meeting Practice
Any person may make a written submission during the exhibition period, by one of the following methods:
Email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Fill out a Make a Submission form on Council’s website
By post – forwarded to the General Manager, Richmond Valley Council, Locked Bag 10 Casino NSW 2470
Delivery to a Council administration centre in Casino or Evans Head