Rates rising 6.95% to fund more roadworks

Council plans on display.
Council plans on display.

OBERON ratepayers will be slugged more than five per cent above the IPART-imposed rates cap under the proposed budget for 2017/18.

Oberon councillors have voted to put the draft Operational Plan 2017/18, draft Delivery Plan 2017/18, draft Fees and Charges, and draft 2017/18 Rating Structure on public display for 28 days until June 13.

The drafts have been finalised following a series of community meetings in Black Springs, Burraga, O’Connell and Oberon to gauge public feedback and comments.

The draft operational plan forecasts a net operating surplus of $78,203.

The ordinary rates for 2017/18 include a 6.95 per cent increase comprising the 1.5 per cent local government rates peg and a 5.45 per cent special rate variation.

A 1.5 per cent increase on the town improvement levy for 2017/18 is forecast to raise $453,524. Items to be considered for funding are the community hub, Oberon Common, Oberon Street paving, street tree planting, top soiling Recreation and Leagues club grounds, bulky kerbside collection, playgrounds, council facility improvements and bottle refill stations.

There will be an increase of 1.5 per cent on sewerage service charge at $616.80 for all residential properties accessible to the waste water system, consisting of an access charge of $170.40 and a usage charge of $446.40. An access charge for all non-residential properties accessible to the waste water system will be levied in accordance with the size of the water meter for the respective property.

An access water charge will be $345 with a consumption charge of $2.92 per kilolitre. Vacant land will see a domestic waste management charge of $35 and a 240 litre bin weekly collection service will be $200.

In 2014, following community consultation, council applied to the Independent Pricing and Regulator Tribunal (IPART) for a Special Rate Variation. IPART approved a cumulative 34.35 per cent rise over five years.

During 2016/17 council raised $171,947 through the variation.

These funds were spent subsidising rural roads grading program, upgrade and improve heavily utilised rural freight transport routes. 

In 2016/17, 84 per cent – or $144,436 – of the special rate variation funding was used for improvements to priority roads.

Dog Rocks and Campbells River roads are well utilised transport routes which were the recipient of road improvement work during the 2016/17 financial year.

During 2017/18 council is expecting to raise $182,221 in SRV funding.

This will be incorporated into council’s Operational Plan for the heavily utilised rural freight transport routes improvement.

In accordance to the IPART approval, 15 per cent will be used to supplement grading on all rural unsealed roads, one per cent on developing asset based data sets, and 84 per cent on the upgrade of heavily utilised rural freight transport routes such as Dog Rocks, Lowes Mount, Hazelgrove, Beaconsfield, Sewells Creek, Campbells River, Burraga and Abercrombie Roads.

Capital expenditure for roads, including carry over from 2016/17 will be $954,216, plant replacement program $800,000, water upgrades $162,000, water treatment filter upgrade $215,000, water metre replacement $100,000 and sewerage will be $842,816. 

During 2016/17 council provided $73,391 cash and in-kind financial assistance to community groups through the Section 356 Donation program.

For 2017/18 council has received applications to the value of $120,682 worth of cash and in-kind assistance.

Council has carried over the delivery program for a fifth year due to the State Government’s Fit for the Future Process that put Oberon Council in a pending amalgamation with Bathurst Regional Council. The amalgamation was squashed and Local Government elections will take place in September 2017.

Oberon Council's full draft operational plan, delivery plan, fees and charges and rating structure can be viewed on Oberon Council's website.