Workshop to finalise TRC budget

SENIOR staff and councillors will sit down in about 10 days to finalise the budget for Tamworth Regional Council (TRC) and the activities and services they will undertake over the next year.

The workshop on Wednesday, June 4, will consider the draft operational plan TRC has framed so far and the community sessions it has held to show residents and ratepayers what it wants to do, and how it intends to pay for those things.

The workshop will be the final session where councillors and staff decide just what is on the books for the next year and its income and expenditure streams – and what changes will be made in the wake of the public roadshow and the written submissions received about the plan.

The draft shows the council expects to see about $90 million in income in its general fund and forecasts another $17.2 million from water enterprises income and nearly $20 million from sewerage operations and finish with a surplus operating result of just less than a million in water and just on $1.4 million in sewerage, after infrastructure and works spending in those two sectors.

Total operational expenses across general rates operations is forecast at over $95 million.

TRC general manager Paul Bennett said the final community open session held last week in Tamworth had attracted about 15 people, who questioned staff and councillors on the plan.

The council’s manager for integrated planning and reporting, Lisa Roberts, who also shopped the plan to different centres as well as the five briefing sessions held across the region, said there had been a handful of residents at each, with Nundle attracting the biggest attendance, with 11 residents.

But, as in other years, while the sessions do not attract very many, Mr Bennett said he was pleased with the turnout and the comments, and the feedback, from the written submission period that relate to the budget, would all be considered before the draft is finalised.

Mr Bennett said a lot of issues had been raised, many of them not directly related to the council’s intended delivery plan, including reserves and restricted assets, grant funding, drainage, footpaths, and the sale of council land and other development, including the sale of Prince of Wales park and the future of some other council green spaces.

Ms Roberts said the sessions were designed to outline planned major capital works and the key projects.

“Questions about the provision of Visitor Information Centre services were asked at both Nundle and Barraba, while residents at Nundle and Kootingal asked about a timeframe for delivery of the sewer 

system to their community,” Ms Roberts said. “Roads, parking, footpaths and parks were among the other issues raised at more than one location.”

Mayor Col Murray said most who attended the sessions had raised concerns mostly related to matters of a “minor nature” rather than major issues or key projects.

“As we strive for financial sustainability, it inadvertently puts pressure on the budget to achieve all the little things and it’s simply not possible to do it all,” Cr Murray said.

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