Highlights of the 25 May 2021 Council Meeting

Date

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Release

        Importance of Council’s Financial Recovery Plan reaffirmed by Quarter 3 Business Report

        Council’s Quarter 3 Business Report for the period 1 July 2020 to 31 March 2021 outlines an unsatisfactory projected year-end loss of $103.3M before capital income at 30 June 2021.

        The Report emphasises the importance of Council’s rigorous Financial Recovery Plan measures including reducing operating expenditure, special rate variation, reducing capital expenditure, securing bank loans, generating additional income and selling underperforming assets.

        Council Administrator, Rik Hart said it was vital that Council move forward with decisive action to achieve financial sustainability.

        “Our latest Business Report shows some positive ground has been made but we have a long way to go and must continue to work through all of the objectives outlined in our Financial Recovery Plan,” Mr Hart said.

        “The necessary bank loans we have secured require us to generate approximately $60M through the sale of Council assets identified as surplus to our needs.

        “A special variation rates increase is also required – the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Authority (IPART) has approved a 15 percent one-off increase for three years, but we will need a permanent increase to meet our bank loan requirements.”

        Year-to-date results identified in the Quarter 3 Business Report include:

        • operating result (excluding capital grants and contributions) is showing a favourable variance of $52.8M, consisting of an actual surplus of $34.3M compared to a budgeted deficit of $18.5M
        • operating result (including capital grants and contributions) is showing a favourable variance of $59.7M, consisting of an actual surplus of $71.1M compared to a budgeted surplus of $11.4M
        • capital expenditure is $115.0M compared to a year-to-date budget of $131.7M.

        Council moves to recover unpaid rates and charges

        Central Coast Council has moved to recover more than $1.7 million in unpaid rates and charges.

        Council has exhausted all other avenues to recover these rates available under the Local Government Act and will now move to sell 123 properties by public auction.

        Council Administrator Rik Hart said the sales were the option of last resort.

        “We understand that some members of our community are suffering from genuine hardship, and for those behind on rates in that circumstance our teams have worked with them to plan repayments,” Mr Hart said.

        “However, more than half of the properties targeted in this sale have outstanding rates for more than five years, and all other attempts for Council to address this has failed.

        “It also includes 50 vacant properties that are more than one year in arrears and have not provided an application for genuine hardship or entered into an arrangement that meets Council guidelines for payment.

        “In such a dire financial situation, we can no longer expect other ratepayers to subsidise these unpaid properties.”

        Council will not proceed with the sale of any land owned by pensioners.

        New Strategy will guide development and management of playspaces across the Coast

        Central Coast Council has adopted the Central Coast Playspace Strategy, taking on board extensive input provided by the community throughout the public exhibition process.

        The Central Coast Playspace Strategy provides strategic direction for the development and sustainable management of playspaces across the Central Coast, consolidating and updating the strategies developed by the former Gosford City and Wyong Shire Councils.

        Council Administrator Rik Hart said the vision for the Central Coast is to have a network of high quality, inclusive playspaces which support social engagement, are creative, enjoyable, appropriately sited, equitably distributed and sustainably managed.

        “Playspaces are the heart of any neighbourhood. They provide meeting places and facilities where community members can connect, socialise and lead active lifestyles,” Mr Hart said.

        “Carefully planned, designed and sustainably managed playspaces allow children to learn, discover, socialise and test their physical abilities through play. Going well beyond the playground equipment, playspaces capture the ‘whole of park’ experience and offer multiple activities and facilities for all ages and abilities to enjoy.

        “Council has considered community submissions regarding the Strategy, including input on design or operational issues, as well as requests for the renewal of specific playspaces or development of new playspaces across the region. Where practical, these have been included in the final strategy.”

        The new Strategy outlines a hierarchy of playspace categories and their distribution principles to ensure there is a diverse range of facilities as well as fair distribution across the Central Coast.

        A 20-year playspace renewal program and maintenance programs, funded from both operational and capital budgets, have been developed to meet safety and legislative requirements and to sustainably manage the lifecycle of these assets.

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        Last updated : Tue 1 Jun 2021