Lithgow City Council is changing the way we do things and is currently inviting community input into the development of the 2019/20 Operational Plan and Budget.
Council is legislatively required as part of the development of its Annual Operational Plan and budget to call for community submissions during the 28 day public exhibition period of the Draft Plan in April/May each year prior to final adoption of the Plan in June. This year we are turning the process on its head and calling for members of the community to submit their requests for inclusions into the Draft 2019/20 Operational Plan and budget now.
The Operational Plan details the operational (recurrent or annual) activities, capital works and new initiatives to be undertaken in the 2019/20 financial year. Community submissions into the development of the Draft 2019/20 Operational Plan will be investigated and considered by Council Officers as part of the development of the draft Plan and Budget.
In 2019/20 Council will be applying for a Special Rate Variation, as such all items to be considered as part of this process will be considered in accordance with sound financial management practices.
Two scenarios will impact Council’s decision making as we develop the 2019/20 Operational Plan.
Current SRV expires + rate peg
On 1 July 2019, the current 4.77% SRV expires. A 2.7% rate peg would be added to the lower rate base. The projected loss of rates revenue due to the expiry of the current SRV is estimated at $624,000 for the 2019/20 year.
Council will need to prepare a Draft Operational Plan/Budget to fund services within revenue constraints. The loss of $624,000 of rates revenue would be reflected in the cessation of the SRV program, which in 2018/19 funded capital improvements to the condition of roads, street & lanes, as well as capital improvements to buildings.
Maintain the current SRV + rate peg + one-off (permanent) 4.23% SRV
Council proposes to apply to retain the current SRV of 4.77%. Council also plans to request an additional one-off SRV of 4.23%. The total SRV application will be for a 9% increase in rates revenue (i.e the current 4.77% SRV plus a new 4.23% SRV). The 2.7% rate peg will also be added. The impact on ratepayers will be a new 4.23% SRV plus the rate peg. The projected total SRV income (from maintaining the current SRV plus adding the new SRV) is estimated at $1.078 million for the 2019/20 year.
Importantly, the allocation of funding would be subject to legislatively required annual Service and Asset Management Plan reviews and to addressing priority risk mitigation actions. Expenditure would target critical service/ asset priorities that the community places a high value on and / or those that have a high risk profile. It is proposed to utilise $1.078 million of SRV funds to improve the condition of critical transport assets, buildings and stormwater drainage. The funds would be used for asset renewal and/or maintenance programs. It is also proposed to utilise $100,000 of SRV funds for business improvement initiatives which will either generate additional revenue or reduce long-term costs.
This is a chance for Council and the community to build a strong, sustainable future together for the Lithgow LGA. Council will use the results of this engagement process to guide decision-making on the activities, capital works and new initiatives for inclusion in the 2019/20 Operational Plan.
If you would like to be a part of this process and make a submission visit www.haveyoursay.lithgow.com and click on the Draft Operational Plan icon. Submissions close on Friday 19 October 2018.