Council presents a conservative budget for coming year

Cobar Shire Council’s director of corporate and community services Kym Miller presented council’s 2019/2020 budget to the public last Wednesday night. Pictured with Mr Miller are councillors Julie Payne, Kate Winders and deputy mayor Peter Abbott.

Cobar Shire Council was pleased to be able to present a “good” budget to ratepayers at public meeting last Wednesday night.

Council’s director of corporate and community services, Kym Miller, said he’s worked out a conservative budget for 2019/2020 that has “very little risk and significant opportunities”.

“There’s no reduction in services, and no additional borrowings needed.

“It has had enough work put in it to give the management team and councillors extreme confidence,” Mr Miller said.

“Each of the funds are in good shape.

“The only weakness is that sewer charges have to slightly increase by about six per cent.”

Mr Miller said sewer charges have historically been too low to balance that fund and small increases over the next four years will enable them to “catch up”.

“We’ll be holding staffing levels and won’t be cutting staffing,” he said.

The budget allows for $42million in revenue and $35million in expenditure (which includes depreciation).

Capital expenditure for the year ahead totals $13.5million and allows for a high dependence on government funding for capital projects.

The 2019/2020 budget allows for $8million in road expenditure with $200,000 of that earmarked for footpath repairs.

The budget has a continued focus on improving water quality for residents.

Fees and charges for 2019/2020 have remained largely unchanged. Rates have increased 2.7 per cent (which has been capped by the independent regulator).

Some of the capital works to occur in the year ahead include the commissioning of the water treatment plant; the Youthie extension; works at the Great Cobar Heritage Centre; the construction of the Miners Memorial; and $50,000 for playground upgrades.

A number of other capital projects are planned that are subject to funding.

Mr Miller said council received some favourable feedback and constructive suggestions from a couple of residents who attended last week’s public meeting.

He said council would welcome more feedback from the public about the budget and their future project ideas.