FROM THE MAYOR’S DESK: CR JAMIE CHAFFEY
Council has set the path for the year ahead with the adoption of the Operational Plan 2023-24 and the associated Fees and Charges at the June council meeting.
The Operational Plan 2023-24 details the works and services that council intends to undertake during the next financial year.
In 2023-24, the Gunnedah Shire Council budget is nearly $66 million with close to $30 million of capital works. About 46 per cent of this money comes from grants and contributions for specific projects or services, and 32 per cent comes from rates and charges.
The Fees and Charges 2023-24 contains details on all fees council intends to charge and recover for services provided, from GoCo Community Care services to waste management, animal control fees, plant hire rates and cemeteries. The revenue collected from fees and charges is an important source of funding for council’s overall budget.
These services affect the daily lives of our community, and it is little wonder that these documents are of vital interest to our residents. That’s why they are on public exhibition for 28 days before they go before the council for a decision, and why people are encouraged to have their say during that time.
This year, the operational plan attracted a number of submissions from across the community, and also prompted eight presentations to the council meeting last week. It is wonderful to see people getting involved in this process to make their voices heard.
The carefully argued submissions and presentations resulted in reductions to some of the fees that were originally proposed for the swimming pool, the showground and the cultural precinct.
These decisions were made after strong debate within the council chambers and a consideration of the impact of the changes on council’s budget and ability to continue to deliver all the things a community expects of local government.
We must adhere to a responsible budget to make this happen during difficult economic times when councils are facing financial stress from both the increasing costs of services and products, and cost-shifting from state to local government.
It shows that while we must always make responsible decisions, we can do this in partnership with the community.
Council also adopted the Gunnedah Shire Local Housing Strategy at the June meeting.
This is a critical document that will guide how our shire approaches housing for the next 20 years, providing a path forward for future residential growth.
The strategy aims to facilitate an increase in the supply of innovative and affordable housing options and assist in providing sustainable housing options.
The documents adopted at the June council meeting support our vision for a financially sustainable council, and facilitate a range of housing options for our community.To order photos from this page click here