Council’s core documents finalised in time for June 30 deadline

Water and sewerage are not subject to the Independent Pricing And Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) Rate Peg.

NAMBUCCA Valley councillors have adopted key documents including the Annual Budget, Long Term Financial Plan and Revenue Policy for the 2024/25 period.

“Council’s total estimated operating revenue during the 2024/25 financial year is $55.4 million with estimated operating expenditure being $50.4 million, providing for a small surplus of $29,000 for the year,” said Council’s Chief Financial Officer, Evan Webb in his opening remarks on the draft budget.

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However, several late changes to the budget were approved at last Thursday’s meeting, bringing the final forecast in deficit to the tune of $138,000.

Coincidentally, the final 2023/24 budget included a similar deficit one year ago at its adoption ($139,000).

“The Annual Budget is one of our most important pieces of work each year and sits alongside our Delivery Program and Operational Plans as one of the key strategic documents that ensures our Council is allocating the funds to meet the operational priorities determined by Council within our regulatory obligations,” Mr Webb said.

This year’s budget appearance is a change from previous years.

Mr Webb told NOTA this is due to his joining the Council only twelve months ago, and his commitment to representing the figures in a clear and comprehensive format.

He noted current economic uncertainties including increased cost-of-living pressures, supply chain issues and the Council’s commitment to keep rate increases within the rate cap while delivering a wide range of services and planning for the future.

This year’s rates and annual charges are anticipated to make up $26.1 million of the $55.4 million budget while employee benefits and oncosts will make up the majority of the $50.3 million expenses at $15.7 million.

Little has changed from the previous budget in terms of water (zero new users) and sewerage (55 new services), although revenue from these two items is forecast to rise by approximately ten percent.

“The costs of water and sewer have risen dramatically,” Mr Webb told NOTA, “and we are funding some large infrastructure projects.

“We needed to make up the difference with a ten percent rise to these charges.

“Water and sewer are not subject to the rate peg (a cap on the yearly increase) as other rates and charges are,” he said.

The 24/25 Rate Peg (the maximum percentage amount that councils can increase their general income for the year) is set by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) at between 4.5 percent and 5.5 percent when population factors for each council are considered.


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