COVID-19 Impacts Expected on Budgets

6 months ago | by

Toormina Amenities

The Coffs Harbour community is being encouraged to provide feedback on Coffs Harbour City Council’s Draft 2017-2022 Delivery Program (Year 4). The document, which includes the Draft 2020/21 Operational Plan, Draft 2020/21  Fees and Charges, and Draft Delivery Program Budgets 2020/21, is on public exhibition from Monday, May 18, until Monday, June 15, 2020.

Changes to Integrated Planning and Reporting requirements for 2020 have been declared by the NSW Government as a result of the COVID-19 emergency.  The 2020 Local Government Elections have also been postponed to September 2021.  These changes mean that Council’s existing 2017-2021 Delivery Program will apply for a further 12 months and change to a 2017-2022 Delivery Program.

The consolidated budget result for 2020/21, excluding capital revenue, is projected to be a $4.955 million deficit.

“COVID-19 has had an impact on the budget result through the measures taken to support the community, in addition to other economic and social impacts felt from bushfires, flood and drought,” said Steve McGrath, Council’s General Manager.  “Financial adjustments and policy positions are ongoing to ensure that Council continues to support the local community through the public health crisis and economic consequences wrought by the pandemic and the national response.”

These measures include:

  • Amending Council’s ‘Rates, Charges and Fees – Financial Hardship Policy’ to apply to non-residential properties;
  • Suspend new debt recovery actions for outstanding accounts where financial hardship is apparent;
  • Remove account keeping fees;
  • Remove late and reminder fees;
  • Remove credit card surcharges;
  • Support procurement from local businesses;
  • Defer the 2020/21 Special Rate for city centre businesses and associated infrastructure works to the same value; and
  • Loan repayment relief for existing loans to community groups.

In addition, Council has also temporarily suspended most street parking patrols and waived the fees or suspended inspections for food, beauty, tattoo and swimming pool businesses. Businesses or groups that rent Council-owned facilities and are facing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic have also so far been provided with rent relief for April, May and June 2020.

Council continues to focus on asset renewal while also striving to position itself to take advantage of the construction of new infrastructure where funding opportunities become available. In 2020-21, significant budget allocations are proposed for works across a range of asset categories. These include:

  • Ongoing commitment to the delivery of the Cultural and Civic Space project;
  • Offsite storage facility;
  • Animal impounding facility;
  • Coffs Coast Regional Sports Hub;
  • Initial works West Woolgoolga Sports Complex;
  • Initial works Woolgoolga and Sawtell swimming pools replacement;
  • Toormina Oval amenities (pictured above) and change rooms;
  • Sawtell BMX Club track upgrade;
  • Extensive Water and Sewer infrastructure upgrades;
  • Bridgeworks including Hallgath’s bridge, Little Nymboida bridge and Melaleuca foot bridge;
  • Footpaths construction program including Beryl St, Elizabeth St, Albany St, Bruce King Dr and Prince St; and
  • Flood mitigation works including Boambee/Newports Creek, Ocean St, Korff Street and stormwater renewals across the LGA.

In September 2019, the NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal set a 2.6% rate peg increase in ‘General Income’ for 2020/21. Accordingly, the ‘average’ residential property can expect a total rates and charges increase (including annual access charges) of approximately $97.96 per annum (or $1.88 per week) which is a 2.60% increase from 2019/20.

The ‘average’ residential property has been based on a land valuation of $244,600 in 2020/21. This is an increase from the ‘average’ residential property land valuation of $205,100 in 2019/20 as a result of the new land values provided by the NSW Valuer General from July 1 2019 for rating purposes.

The draft documents – and details of how to make a submission – are available on Council’s Have Your Say website – haveyoursay.coffsharbour.nsw.gov.au Submissions close at 5pm on Monday, June 15, 2020.

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