RICHMOND Valley Council’s 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.
Mr Macdonald said the draft budget ensured there was a focus on spending in the right areas and in the delivery of assets and projects which residents had called for.
He said Council was determined to continue delivering the services which kept Richmond Valley communities functioning, whilst rebuilding the local economy.
“The cost of doing business has sky rocketed in all areas,” Mr Macdonald said.
“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.
“Council will continue to deliver services to make the Richmond Valley an even greater place to live, invest, learn and earn for a sustainable and prosperous future.”
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.
He said Council would continue to look at all aspects of the business to ensure the completion of the many programs and commitments endorsed by the community.
“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,” Mr Macdonald said.
“Council believes the right balance has been struck in the draft budget, which aims to achieve actions identified in the Community Strategic Plan, whilst balancing community expectations and the physical and financial resources available to Council.”
Council Mayor Robert Mustow said the draft budget was informed by community and key stakeholder consultation, including through annual community surveys and face-to-face meetings.
Cr Mustow said the draft budget provided funding to maintain local roads and facilities, deliver community services and look after our much-loved parks and sporting pavilions.
He said the Richmond Valley had a particularly challenging few years and Council acknowledged the significant social and economic impacts of severe weather events and the COVID pandemic.
He said Council would continue to focus on core services and infrastructure, while improving services and making innovations where possible.
“The capital works program will improve, renew and create new infrastructure for our community,” Cr Mustow said.
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
Hand delivery at either of Council’s Customer Service Centres in Casino and Evans Head
Online submission – by completing an online submission form via Council’s website.