2019/20 Budget – a foundation for long-term sustainability

Dubbo Regional Council has ushered in its fourth budget since amalgamation with a strong vision for further growth and development in the coming years for the whole region.

The big priority for Council is the region’s natural resource, water. After spirited debate Council moved an amendment to increase water and sewer rates by the standard consumer price index (CPI) of 2.7 % as opposed to the recommended 5%.

“This is a fair result given the current economic climate during one of the worst droughts on record. We received a lot of submissions about concerns of rising water and sewage rates and this resolution goes to show we are listening to our community,” Mayor of the Dubbo Region Ben Shields said. 

The budget and operational plan for 2019/20 will ensure the unprecedented capital works in the region are completed and the ongoing costs for their operation and maintenance are accounted and planned for, a move that Councillor Shields recognises will generate community discussion.

Fee increases will come into effect for the Aquatic Leisure Centres across the region during the 2019/20 Financial Year, a decision designed to ensure the longevity and sustainability of the facilities well into the future.  The increase will ensure the new – and highly anticipated – Wellington Aquatic Leisure Centre is a well-maintained, functional and modern centrepiece for the community.

“Building new infrastructure and facilities with the help of Government grants is fantastic but as a Council we have to recognise these new facilities with increased offerings to the community are going to cost more to run and in turn are going to cost more to use,” Clr Shields said.

During 2019/2020 year Council has committed $43.16 million to capital works projects to improve the region. These projects include footpath and cycleway construction, playground improvements, disability infrastructure, and heavy road patching, sewerage and water infrastructure improvements to name a few.

“Some of these significant capital works projects Council fund go to the heart of improving and maintaining the region’s liveability and community sustainability,” Clr Shields said.

Council recognises that many community groups using Council owned and operated community facilities, or operating community facing events in public spaces, will also fall into line with new fees and charges to be introduced in the new Financial Year.

“It costs the community to build and operate the facilities used by these important community groups and the fees and charges being applied for venue hires etc. will offset the costs involved in running and providing facilities that groups may otherwise struggle to find for their use,” Clr Shields said.

“Similarly, community events, such as markets and other community activations, will also for the first time be asked to fall in line with Council-wide introduction of fees and charges.  This isn’t unreasonable as Council must put some value on its public space and offset the cost of maintaining those spaces,” Clr Shields said.

The new adopted fees and charges for 2019/2020 will come into effect 1 July 2019.

The 2019/2020 Delivery Program, Operational Plan Council Budget and associated documents were on public display for a period of four (4) weeks with a significant amount of correspondence received from the community. Each submission was considered in the creation and adoption of this budget and Council would like to thank those members of the community who made submissions.

Last Edited: 25 Jun 2019

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