The Budget Journey (Latest GM Column 27 January 2018)

5 years ago | by


Local government is a complex beast and sometimes it’s hard to see how things link together. So I wanted to use this Column to try to help show the thread that binds the ten-year, community-generated MyCoffs Strategic Plan to Council’s day-to-day activities.

All Councils in NSW are tasked to produce a set of documents as part of the State Government’s Integrated Planning and Reporting (IPR) Framework. At the top of these documents is the MyCoffs Community Strategic Plan, which many of you may have helped develop through the consultation we undertook in 2016. This is a long-term document that sets out the aspirations and priorities of the Coffs Harbour community for the next ten years.

Flowing from that is the Delivery Program. This is Council’s four-year plan that sets out how we achieve the goals within MyCoffs that fall within Council’s areas of responsibility.

Below that is the Operational Plan. This details Council’s projects and budgets for each financial year – again ultimately aimed at working towards the goals in MyCoffs. A check is kept of our progress through the Annual Report and 6-Monthly Report, which are reviewed by Councillors, and show how Council is performing.

While the final Operational Plan is adopted by Council every June, work on the business and budget planning begins in the previous November. At the end of last year, staff and Councillors held workshops to look at what we need to achieve in the 2018-2019 financial year.

At the end of this month, we should be in a position to have a first look at the budget plans. Then, during February, there’s a final review. By March, we will have a set of draft budgets and the draft Operational Plan will be ready in April.

Once the Councillors are happy with the draft Operational Plan, it will go on public exhibition in May, with the accompanying budgets and fees and charges, for community comment and input.

Once all the submissions have been reviewed and any changes made, the final Operational Plan will be adopted by the end of June – and the journey towards achieving the MyCoffs Strategic Plan continues.

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