Sue Day – The Voice of Penrith

Image source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Building Approvals, Australia (8731.0). Compiled and presented by .id, the population experts.

Stop Council Rate Hikes

We have had record growth, yet rates are increasing.

Council is contributing to the skyrocketing household expenses for Penrith Families

Support my plan to stop rate hikes.

I will fight against Council rate rises, in the current climate. There is no justification in increases! Especially, as Council are ignoring the critical infrastructure backlog.

Penrith Council’s Residential Rating Trends 2013-2016

The average Rate increase over the last three years                                   6.53%

There are ways to control the increases on rates and charges that are not subject to rate-pegging.

Councils do have the option not charge for services that you do not use. I will be fighting hard for this to be introduced.

More importantly, I will fight for an increase to the concession for ordinary rates for our Pensioners and for any one who falls under the grounds of hardship.  This is what we need to do for the most vulnerable in our communities

Certain rates and charges are not subject to rate-pegging. I will ensure that the Council provides details of what they are proposing to charge in the draft management plan and I will campaign against rate hikes and I guarantee to meet with as many local residents during the submission periods to discuss proposed rates and charges.

Currently

Council receives around 43 per cent of its total revenue from the LGA’s 69,614 rateable properties, and each property’s rate value is determined by its land value.

Worst still:

Penrith was the only metropolitan council to apply for and be granted a special rate variation, aiming to boost services and deliver grand plans with the extra $46 million.

Then:

Council’s Long Term Financial Plan (LTFP) identified the need to establish a Major Projects Reserve to support investment in major Regional City Infrastructure as our City grows.

This Reserve will provide capacity for Council to deliver or contribute towards the delivery of the infrastructure our City needs into the future and could include multi-deck carparks, community facilities, open space improvements, and sporting facilities.

This Reserve was established in 2015-16 and currently has a balance of $4,500,000, with potential to allocate a future surplus along with annual allocations of $1.5m commencing from 2018-19

The development of the draft 2018-19 budget will incorporate annual savings already identified in prior years and will continue to focus on identifying areas where further productivity savings can be achieved.

To support this process, and following on from the Capacity Review, an Innovation Performance Team has been formed on 2017-18 with funding from the Productivity Reserve.

This team will lead a 12-month project to improve the way we deliver services to the community, reviewing our current processes to deliver an even more effective organisation.

We need to channel any extra funds back to the people.

So: We need to change the system, we need a framework built into yearly budgets.

A framework that sets a target to pass on any savings back to rate payers

Future plans for innovation and efficiency should also include a target that can be redistributed back to Rates.

Penrith Council should then utilise the Local NSW Infrastructure renewal scheme to fix the critical back log of infrastructure desperately needed in Penrith residents

References:

http://bizsearch.penrithcity.nsw.gov.au/pccbps/Open/2018/02/CNL_26022018_AGN_AT_WEB.htm

http://www.olg.nsw.gov.au/public/my-local-council/yourcouncil-website

Under the fees and charges provision, there is a pricing structure, if there is an excess over costs, the a percentage of the excess should be directed back to the annual Rate charge

GROWTH AT ANY RATE IS NOT THE RIGHT APPROACH

When will the major parties understand, Growth at any rate is not

The right approach. The council priorities are causing living costs in Penrith to skyrocket. Rate payers are not receiving the benefit of this growth it’s not being funnelled into critical infrastructure or reducing the cost of living in Penrith.

A Council Survey report and highlighted the primary concerns for residents of the Penrith area over the next 10 years are:

  • Infrastructure, catering for growing and diverse population, including the new airport
  • Overpopulation/urban sprawl and pollution, traffic flow and congestion and
  • Providing local employment.

Residents see top priorities for Council to focus on over the next four years as:

  • Improved traffic management / flow / road infrastructure
  • Maintenance of local roads to cope with increased traffic and
  • Ensuring infrastructure keeps up with the growing community and the airport

 Ironcially, the priorities from 2015 have not changed. It’s time to change.

We need Council to listen to the people and address the issues that matter.

 Send a clear message, their vision does not match the priorities outlined by the people.

 With the projected growth, it’s critical that we deliver on the priorities outlined by the residents.

 Greater Western Sydney

 Future plans must include any savings to be redistributed back to Rates.

Financial Position Summary

Council projected a balanced budget in the adoption of the 2016-17 Operational Plan. The actual cumulative result for the year as at June 2017 after allowing for proposed Reserve allocations is a favourable surplus of $195,574.

The favourable 2016-17 end of year result has also provided the Council with capacity to allocate additional funds to the ICT Reserve ($300,000) to enable technology improvements to continue, Major Projects Reserve ($1,000,000) to advance design and development work and a further transfer to Reserve ($1,805,083) to ensure that sufficient capacity is established for 2017-18 to fund current and emerging priorities.

The variations in the final quarter of 2016-17 were mainly favourable to budget, including additional rates income ($518,888) and Roads Maintenance Fees and Charges ($350,314), savings in Light Vehicle Fleet Changeover ($317,216), Roads and Drainage Maintenance ($486,054) and net employee costs ($736,584). These positive variations were partly offset by additional expenditure in Building Maintenance and Operations ($249,031) and a reduction in the predicted reimbursement from the NSW Rural Fire Fighting Fund ($324,574) which is based on actual costs for the year.

The financial strategies developed over the past two years rely not just on the 2016-17 Special Rate Variation (SRV), but also on reform within the organisation’s processes, systems, procedures, culture and structure.  Reform in these areas has already commenced and will continue over the next 2-3 years.  The organisation aims to match the funds from the 2016-17 SRV with savings from better ways of doing things, harnessing technology improvements, implementing new systems and reviewing service delivery.  These savings will provide the capacity to continue to service our growing City ensuring the 2016-17 SRV funds are directed towards the City shaping and future-proofing priorities. As at 30 June 2017 the total productivity initiatives savings achieved were $2,426,523 which exceeded our target of $2,143,964 by $282,559.

This final review for 2016-17 highlights the strengthening financial sustainability that underpins Council’s Fit for the Future status and has been foreshadowed in the Long Term Financial Plan in recent years. Continued commitment to the strategies endorsed by the Financial Capacity Review and the 2016-17 Special Rate Variation (SRV) will continue to reinforce Council’s financial sustainability and Regional City role.

Budget Position

$000s
Original Budget Position 0
September Quarter Variations 60.5
December Quarter Variations 27.3
March Quarter Variations 61.7
June Quarter Variations 0
June Review Variations 46.1
Revised Surplus/(Deficit) 195.6

The predicted cumulative result for the year as at June 2017 is a favourable surplus of $195,574 after the recommended variations for the final quarter. Commentary is provided below on some of the more significant issues in the review (F= Favourable, U= Unfavourable, A= Allocation) with further details together with all proposed variations, variations with no impact on available funds, revotes, and reserve movements detailed in the Organisational Performance Report – June 2017.

Rates Income $518,888 F (0.4%)

Additional rates income was partly due to a delay in receiving supplementary valuations in early 2017 as the Valuer General was required to revalue all NSW land for the planned Fire & Emergency Services Levy. This caused a delay with providing supplementary valuations to Council for properties registered between November 2016 and March 2017, which made it difficult to ascertain which properties would be rated in 2016-17 financial year. Additional income was also partly due to additional subdivisions being registered ahead of forecasts. This additional income was predicted to be received in future years of Council’s LTFP and as such does not substantially increase Council’s financial capacity in future years.

Transfer to Financial Management Reserve $1,805,083 A

The development of the annual budget each year requires a number of assumptions to be made in relation to both expenditure and income that are dependent on factors that are outside Council’s control. To safeguard against movements in these assumptions and forecasts during 2017-18 and also to provide capacity to respond to additional calls on Council funds it is proposed that $1,805,083 be transferred to Council’s Financial Management Reserve.  In considering this provision Council has identified that $100,000 of this allocation be used in 2017-18 to support, as a sponsor, the Australian Matildas Football match against Brazil being held at Penrith Stadium in September.  In addition further allocation of these funds to specific projects was considered by a recent Finance & Economics Opportunities Working Party, and once finalised will be included for consideration as part of the September Review of the 2017-18 Operational Plan.

Transfer to Major Projects Reserve $1,000,000 A

Council’s Long Term Financial Plan (LTFP) identified the need to establish a Major Projects Reserve to support investment in major Regional City Infrastructure as our City grows. This Reserve will provide capacity for Council to deliver or contribute towards the delivery of the infrastructure our City needs into the future and could include multi-deck carparks, community facilities, open space improvements, and sporting facilities.  This Reserve was established in 2015-16 with initial funding of $2,500,000 with an allocation in September 2017 taking the balance to $3,500,000. This additional end of year allocation, which is proposed to be nominally allocated to the planned Tench Reserve upgrades, now brings the balance to $4,500,000.

Transfer to ICT Reserve $300,000 A

Council has undertaken a number of Information Technology projects and upgrades under the ICT Strategy. A transfer of $300,000 to Reserve is proposed in the June Quarterly Review to enable technology improvements to continue in line with Council’s ICT Strategy/Investment Plan.

Conclusion

The predicted end of year result is an excellent outcome and reflects the strong financial management of Council. The discipline and control Council has shown in the development and monitoring of the 2016-17 Operational Plan has ensured that Council has been able to accommodate priorities as they have emerged during the year and has also provided capacity to respond to future challenges through allocations to Reserves.

The Financial Capacity Review resulted in the development of a number of strategies and initiatives with funding to be provided by a combination of cost saving efficiencies, productivity improvements, and the Special Rate Variation (SRV) for four years commencing 2016-17 and the renewal of the AREAS SRV (expiring in June 2016) which have been incorporated in the 2016-17 Operational Plan. When combined with the final budget position as at June 2017 including allocations to Reserve these strategies will ensure that Council has the capacity and financial flexibility to respond to emerging challenges. Council’s strategies also ensure we are well placed to maintain our long term financial sustainability as we grow into our Regional City role, cater for the increased populations within both the LGA and the regional catchment that we service and address the increasing demands and expectations of our Community.

http://bizsearch.penrithcity.nsw.gov.au/pccbps/Open/2017/08/CNL_28082017_AGN_AT.htm



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