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Kyogle Council proposes rate increase of 5.43%

KYOGLE Council has dodged a bullet by avoiding a forced merger, but it will have to continually raise rates to justify its continued existence.

While the council was left out of Local Government Minister Paul O'Toole's dreaded list of merging councils, it has just approved a draft plan for exhibition which proposes a rate increase of 5.43% in the coming financial year.

The increase is the second of five rate increases - all above the rate-pegging limit - which were approved by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) in May last year.

Dollar figures

According to the council, the proposed increase will see the average Kyogle residential rate increase by $53.69 to $1085.32.

The average rural residential rate will rise by $52.64 to $1024.66 while the average residential rate for areas outside Kyogle will go by up $29.91 to $522.13.

The average farmland rate will increase by $70.60 to $1538.51, while average business rates in Kyogle will increase by $73.80 to $1626.79.

The average business rate for areas outside of Kyogle will go up by $7.94 to $518.63.

Public exhibition

The rate increases are included in the draft Operational Plan 2016/2017 Delivery Program 2016/2020 which Council adopted for public exhibition at its Ordinary Meeting on Monday, 9 May, 2016.

The document, together with Council's draft fees and charges for 2016/2017, will be on exhibition for public comment until 13 June.

The council will hold an information session on the draft operational plan/delivery program on Wednesday May 25 from 2-7pm at the Kyogle Council Chambers.

Other fees

The draft operational plan also provides for increases to sewerage and water charges of 4% and 5% respectively.

General garbage collection fees will remain unchanged at $450 a household while landfill charges will rise, on average, by 3% for domestic waste and up to 10% for certain commercial waste quantities.

Council intends to allow schools, local sporting clubs, charities and not-for-profit organisations to use its sporting fields and parks free of charge, however commercial organisations will still have to pay the nominated fees.

Council is proposing to keep increases to most of its other fees and charges to about 3%.

Capital works

Overall, Council is proposing an operating budget for 2016-2017 of $21.4 million plus it intends to spend a further $17.5 million in capital works.

A feature of the budget is a $10 million loan, originally approved for 2015-2016, to address Council's infrastructure backlog.

Highlights of the 2016-2017 operational plan include:

- $6.03 million to replace eight timber bridges with new bridges and a further 24 bridges with culverts. The funds include $400,000 on a new concrete bridge at Sawpit Creek and $438,216 on a new bridge on Tabulam Road (Daleys Bridge).

- $1.6 million on regional roads repairs and renewals

- $4.84 million on rural local roads including $2.06 million on the Toonumbar Dam Access Road, $200,126 on Wiangaree Back Road, $170,000 on the Sextonville Road, $979,260 on the rehabilitation of sealed roads, $676,740 on the rehabilitation of unsealed roads and $469,582 on rural road reseals.

- $475,000 to close the Woodenbong landfill, rehabilitate the site and establish a transfer station

- $345,000 to rebrand the Kyogle Council area and upgrade and replace village and Council area entry signage to match the new brand.

- $250,000 to replace the roof of the water supply reservoir at Geneva

- $120,000 for the Visions of Village Life project to prepare master plans for the future of the villages of Woodenbong, Tabulam, Bonalbo, Old Bonalbo, Mallanganee and Wiangaree

- $120,000 to undertake improvements to the Kyogle and Tabulam caravan parks (subject to the approval of grant funding)

- $30,000 for a Christmas tree for the Kyogle main street to be erected for the festive season

- $67,704 to build a skate park at Tabulam (subject to the approval of grant funding)

- $106,000 to improve drainage in Dalmorton Street Woodenbong ($50,000) and Wyndham Street Kyogle ($56,000)

- $50,000 for a flood study for Tabulam (subject to the approval of grant funding)

- $76,868 in one-off, special event, and cash donations to community organisations and individuals

- The draft operational plan and delivery program and the draft fees and charges can be viewed online at council's website, at council's administration centre 1 Stratheden Street Kyogle, and the following locations: Wadeville Store, Woodenbong Post Office, Tabulam Post Office, Cawongla Store, Mallanganee Store, Old Bonalbo Post Office, Kyogle Library, Wiangaree Post Office, Bonalbo Post Office and mobile library.

To lodge submissions

Submissions can be lodged online via the Council's website or sent to The General Manager, Kyogle Council, PO Box 11, Kyogle, NSW, 2474.

Submissions close at 4pm on Monday, 13 June. All written submissions received from the public will be considered by the Council before it adopts its final budget at an extraordinary meeting to be held on Monday, 27 June.

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