Council wants $8 million in extra income and cost savings
COFFS Harbour City Council is budgeting on a surplus of just $1557 for 2014-15.
The 2014-15 draft budget is on the agenda for tonight's meeting of Coffs Harbour City Council and will go on public exhibition on Friday, remaining open for submissions until May 9.
The budget, part of the council's draft 2014-15 operational plan, includes the proposed permanent special rate variation to be phased in over three years.
Roads will receive the lion's share of funding from the rate increase, if the variation is approved by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART).
Also on exhibition in the marathon package of more than 200 pages of financial information will be the council's 2014-2018 Draft Delivery Program and proposed fees and charges for next year.
All submissions, a summary of recommended responses to them and the final documents will be presented for adoption by the council before the end of the financial year.
Coffs Harbour City Council wants $8 million in extra income and cost savings to achieve a financially sustainable budget position.
The council needs an extra $1.8 million a year to keep ahead of current and estimated cost increases in its operations, plus an extra $6.2 million a year for asset maintenance and renewal, to avoid progressive deterioration of roads and buildings.
The extra rate income - if approved by IPART - will go towards asset maintenance.
The money to plug the "underlying operational deficit" will come from new revenue sources, extra efficiencies and cost savings identified through the council's new transformation to sustainability (T2S) initiative.
T2S is projected to cost the council $1 million in its first year, but save the organisation $1.5 million.
In the following three years, these projections show T2S costs steadily dropping to zero and savings rising dramatically to $3.2 million.
The draft 2014-15 budget shows most fees and charges, which are not subject to NSW government rate-pegging legislation, increasing by about 4% next year.
But new fees and charges listed in the schedule are an eye-opener, with a wide variety of activities attracting new payments to the council, presumably as part of the brave new order of commercialisation of council services.
These range from a new $25 fee for taking an old mattress to the tip, a $100 fee for the Book Club service at the library and a new $500 fee for the use of council land to a new $25,000 all-inclusive six-stage fee for rezoning applications.
The council estimates its rate income for 2014-15, including the proposed special rate variation, will be $37.6 million.
Without the special rate variation, it will be $35.6 million.