Byron roads: Tough decisions to be made in budget

ROADS and public spaces have remained the key focus in Byron Shire Council's 2016/17 draft operational plan and budget.

But the council has also warned there are some "tough decisions ahead".

General manager Ken Gainger said the capital works program had been increased by about 30%, or $12 million, over the previous year.

The 2016/17 council operating budget will be reported to the council this week with the aim of placing it on public exhibition from early May for community feedback.

Mr Gainger said the consolidated budget was balanced and provided for an operating budget of almost $73 million.

"It's an ambitious capital works program of $41.7 million on roads, drains, open spaces and community facilities," he said.

But he also said the council needed to continue to monitor its long-term financial position and implement its council improvement plan under the local government's Fit for the Future requirements.

"We're committed to look for new ways to improve efficiencies and make the budget stretch further, but it is becoming harder each year," Mr Gainger said.

"With the general fund rate peg set at only 1.8% for this year, councils throughout New South Wales are struggling to keep up with the cost of materials, utilities and wages.

"Our property and business rates account for just over 21% of 2016/17 revenue and we are anticipating about the same amount from grants and contributions.

"The rest is generated from fees, user charges and new sources of revenue from property investments.

"Next month we will be reviewing our long-term financial plan and present options on how we can ensure that we remain financially responsible and sustainable.

"There are more tough decisions ahead."

Key 2016/17 capital highlights with the draft budget include:

  • Myocum Road renewal
  • O'Mearas Bridge replacement
  • Marine Parade upgrade and footpath renewal at Wategos
  • South Golden Beach drainage - Peter and Robin Sts
  • Federal Drive, Goonengerry, road upgrade
  • Broken Head Road renewal stage 2
  • Byron Bay Bypass - stage 1 and stage 2 investigations
  • Lawson St South car park extension to Railway Park
  • Lawson/Massinger St roundabout

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