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Draft budget to benefit all

Bland Shire Council is calling for public comment on its draft 2017-2018 budget which projects an operational surplus (excluding depreciation of $5.21 million) of $3.89 million despite a paper deficit of $1.32 million.

The budget includes proposed capital expenditure of more than $3.6 million which is set to benefit residents from across all parts of the Shire.

One of the biggest ticket items is an allocation of $1.3 million for a roads to recovery capital works program in addition to a $300,000 allocation for regional roads capital works. Council’s total projected spend on roads, both capital and operational, will equate to 21 per cent of available revenue.

Council has also allocated $1.315 million for plant and equipment purchases, which includes the purchase of a street sweeper – the service levels for which are yet to be identified.

Funding of $200,000 has been set aside to advance future major capital projects to the “shovel ready” stage during 2017-2018.

This funding will allow for the preparation of relevant plans, concepts and costs to assist Council to apply for future grant funding for an identified project or projects.

Council is yet to formally identify a potential project and a resolution of Council will be required before any of the funds will be released to advance to the “shovel ready” stage.

Meanwhile, Council has already committed funding of up to $150,000 from its community facilities reserves fund towards a community cinema subject to a successful State Government grant application.

Other capital expenditure items included in the draft budget include –

$50,000 for a geotech study in Boundary Street for a potential new residential development.

$100,000 per year for the next five years towards village playgrounds.

$50,000 for new beams at the lawn cemetery as part of a 10 year improvement plan for the facility.

$60,000 for various upgrades at Cooinda Park

$25,000 towards an upgrade of the West Wyalong Skate Park

$10,000 for a new PA system

$10,000 to upgrade the Bland Shire pound

$7500 for heritage panels in the Main Street

$150,000 for a sewer extension, and

$20,000 for a new scoreboard at McAlister Oval

Bland Shire General Manager, Ray Smith, said the projected $3.89 million cash surplus will place Council is a strong financial position while the reduced paper deficit of $1.32 million (including more than $5.2 million in depreciation) has Council on target to meet the “Fit for the Future” requirements set by the State Government and be operating at a real surplus by 2020-2021.

“The draft budget projects a fantastic financial result for Council while also delivering some key capital items which will benefit the community in the long term,” Mr Smith said.

“Council has once again been able to deliver savings in a range of areas through careful financial planning and the ongoing efforts of staff to identify savings and efficiencies.”

Council is currently seeking public comment on its draft Your Vision Our Future 2017-2027 Community Strategic Plan and supporting Integrated Planning and Reporting strategic documents, including the –

Combined Delivery Program and Operational Plan, including the annual budget and revenue policy 2017-2018

Resourcing Strategy 2017-2017, comprising of

Asset Management Plan

Long Term Financial Plan

Workforce Assessment Plan

Copies of the documents can be obtained from Council’s Shire Street offices, Council’s website at www.blandshire.nsw.gov.au by contacting Council on 6972 2266 or via email to council@blandshire.nsw.nsw.gov.au

Comments in writing or online will be received up until 5pm on Wednesday 31 May.