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Budget surplus projected

Bland Shire Council is projecting a $357,000 surplus excluding depreciation in its draft 2013-2014 budget which was endorsed for public comment at tonight’s monthly Council meeting

At a crucial time for Local Government across the state, Bland Shire Mayor Neil Pokoney said Council was pleased to be able to project a surplus without the need to apply for a special rate variation in order to balance the books.

The 2013-2014 budget proposed a rate increase of 3.4 per cent in accordance with the rate pegging limit set by the State Government.

The draft budget also includes funding to investigate the retention of the old or construction of a new indoor recreation facility, the introduction of a user pay system for senior sport, ongoing improvements to the Perseverance Street sporting complex and funds for a Reg Rattey Memorial.

Council has set aside $50,000 to investigate options for an indoor sports stadium, potentially including a hydrotherapy pool. The investigations will look at the options of upgrading the existing West Wyalong Sports Stadium facility or a greenfield site at a new location.

Council will carry over funding from 2012-2013 for ongoing improvements to the Perseverance Street sporting complex, including a lighting upgrade at Ron Crowe Oval.

The improvements will form stage two of the upgrade, which has already transformed Ron Crowe Oval into one of the best sporting facilities in country New South Wales.

With a continuing commitment to the upgrade and maintenance of sporting facilities, Council is proposing to introduce a user pay system for the use of Council’s sporting fields.

Senior sporting organisations will be asked to pay a flat fee for use of the facilities throughout the competition or season while special events conducted by outside organisations will also attract a fee. Council wrote to affected Bland Shire sporting organisations earlier this month to advise them of the proposal.

No charges will be levied for junior sport.

Meanwhile, $80,000 has been allocated in the budget to honour the Bland Shire’s own Victoria Cross hero Reg Rattey. More details regarding the project will emerge following the consultation process.

Council has also set aside $200,000 for future asset renewal and allocated funds for improvement to White Tank Lane.

With uncertainty surrounding the future of all Council’s in New South Wales following the recent release of the independent “Future Directions” paper, Bland Shire Mayor Neil Pokoney said it was increasingly important for Council to continue delivering a fiscally responsible budget which also addresses some of the key priorities identified by the community.

“It is most pleasing that the budget for the coming year delivers a surplus yet addresses the needs of the community,” he said.

Council is inviting public comment on the draft budget with all feedback to be considered prior to the adoption of the 2013-2014 budget in June. People can access each document and comment directly by visiting the “your say” section of Council’s website at