Planning for a financially secure future
Published on 22 September 2021
Uralla Shire Council’s Draft Long Term Financial Plan goes on public display
How can councils and communities work together to manage a Shire’s financial sustainability?
That is the challenge councils must embrace each year as they review service costs, prepare a budget, determine fees and charges and develop an annual operational plan.
In doing so, councils demonstrate how they will resource the goals of their community strategic plan as defined in their long term delivery programs.
"Council looks to find that right balance, guided by community feedback, on how to secure the revenue needed to run essential Council services – like water, waste, roads – as well as those additional services that the community values; library, transport, aged care and sporting facilities,” said General Manager Kate Jessep.
"A fair approach lies also in determining which services ought to be subsidised by the broader community, and which services should users be expected to pay the full cost.”
Uralla Shire Council’s 2021-2022 Operational Plan, including Budget and Fees and Charges, was adopted by Council after a multi-stage community engagement process, and all documents are now available on Council’s website for residents to view.
Now, Council is focusing on the longer -term view – securing financial sustainability over the next decade through the Long Term Financial Plan.
Key long term challenges
Like the majority of Councils in NSW, Uralla Shire Council faces a major challenge in funding its ongoing services while providing for the appropriate maintenance and replacement of assets into the future and also attempting to keep rates at an equitable and affordable level.
The combination of increased costs for labour and materials, increasing demand for services, the shifting of costs from other levels of government, together with a legislative cap on revenue generated from rates (rate pegging), all contribute to a challenging financial environment within which to operate. Extreme weather events and natural disasters are also increasingly impacting the bottom line.
Therefore, at the core of Uralla Shire’s future financial sustainability will be the ability to adapt and respond to the challenges we face in delivering services more efficiently, providing increased operational productivity and developing opportunities to generate additional revenue sources.
The financial plan is based on the following key strategies:
- Provide spending on infrastructure renewal so that Council’s physical assets are maintained to standards that provide functionality and serviceability
- Rate increases that are equitable and not excessive and that the increase can be explained in a positive and transparent manner
- A pricing strategy for services based on a combination of subsidisation and user-pays principles.
- New community assets to be funded via property developer contributions or special one-off government grants.
Uralla Shire Council is now seeking submissions from our residents and ratepayers to start a conversation on the Shire’s long term financial sustainability.
A summary explainer document and survey have also been created to assist with this stage of the consultation process.
Please visit https://uralla.nsw.gov.au/Community/Consultation
Community input will help Council to make decisions that work towards a balanced budget for long-term sustainability and to secure the continuing independence of the Shire.
Submissions can be made to Council until 5pm, 25 October 2021.
Residents and ratepayers without internet access are invited to contact Council Customer Service on (02) 6778 6300 to request a pack of consultation materials to be mailed to them.
Photo caption: Listening Post community consultation held in Kingstown in April 2021
QR Code: Scan to access the survey and consultation materials