Highlight of the 24 May 2022 Ordinary Council Meeting

Date

Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Release

Community invited to have their say on Council’s Delivery Program 

Council’s Draft Revised Community Strategic Plan, Draft Delivery Program 2022-25 including the Operational Plan and Budget 2022/23, and Draft Resourcing Strategy will be on public exhibition and available for community submissions from Wednesday 25 May to Tuesday 21 June 2022, following endorsement at this evening’s Council Meeting.

Every year Council presents a plan of works that focuses on what the community has told us is important. This includes the continued delivery of essential services and the maintenance of community facilities, recreation and open spaces. The annual Operational Plan and Budget is year one of Council’s three-year Delivery Programs.

As IPART’s final determination for water, sewerage and stormwater drainage pricing for the Central Coast from 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2026 has only been announced today, these pricing impacts are not incorporated in the draft budget that will go on public exhibition.  They will be reflected in the final documents that return to the Council for consideration at the end of June. 

Council has also refined its Community Strategic Plan (CSP) to reflect its financial recovery plan and the objectives of maintaining financial sustainability and discipline.

Council Administrator, Rik Hart said the decision from IPART to allow Council to maintain its ordinary rates beyond 2023-24 for a further seven years, means Council can continue to maintain service levels and comply with current banking requirements. 

“Council’s financial recovery plan put in place in October 2020 has been successfully executed, with Council meeting all major milestones and targets in this recovery plan,” Mr Hart said. 

“With longer-term stability for our rates revenue, we can continue without interruption our 10-year long-term financial plan that provides financial stability for the organisation.  

“The development of the draft Operational Plan, CSP and Resourcing Strategy have been informed by Council’s Financial Recovery Plan, feedback from the community during the earlier exhibition in December 2021 and January 2022, and a Community Reference Group (CRG). 

“The CRG was formed to provide community advice and guidance to Council on what was important for the Central Coast community and to ensure that community opinion was heard and considered in the draft plans.

“I encourage the community to have their say on these plans as now is the time to provide feedback on where you want to see improved service levels.”

For more information on the Draft Plans and to have your say visit yourvoiceourcoast.com.

 

Ensuring consolidated LEP adequately covers flood impacts before implementation 

The consolidated Central Coast Local Environmental Plan (CCLEP) will soon be implemented, providing a consistent planning framework for the region and pathway towards a smoother process for development applications and assessment. 

The Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) has indicated the CCLEP will be gazetted by the end of June 2022, however some final adjustments are being made to ensure flood planning controls for development are consistent with those being applied across NSW.

As part of the finalisation of the CCLEP, DPE recently informed Council that Clause 7.3 Floodplain Risk Management, a provision contained in Council’s current and exhibited draft Local Environmental Plans (LEPs), cannot continue to operate in the new CCLEP as new model template wording is now available in the standard instrument, Clause. 5.22 Special Flood Considerations.  

Council will submit a request to replace the exhibited Clause 7.3 with the model Clause 5.22, which is expected to come into effect later this year. In order not to delay the introduction of CCLEP nor alter the considerations of flood impacts on the Central Coast, the CCLEP will also include Clause 7.23 Transitional Provisions for Floodplain Risk Management, retaining Clause 7.3 of the exhibited draft CCLEP until such time as Standard Instrument Clause 5.22 comes into effect.  

An LEP is the primary legal planning document for guiding land use and planning decisions made by Council. Through zoning and development controls, the LEP allows Council to manage the way in which land is used to strategically plan for the region and shape and support our local communities. 

Council Administrator, Rik Hart said a consolidated CCLEP has been a key deliverable of the amalgamation of the former Gosford City and Wyong Shire Councils in May 2016.  

“Once in effect, developments will be assessed against a single LEP and DCP, which will help to simplify the development process for applicants and also mean that Council staff can further streamline processes to promote greater efficiency for assessment of development applications,” Mr Hart said.

“The Consolidated LEP provides the foundation to progress further improvements to the local planning framework. A consolidated DCP will come into effect concurrently with the consolidated LEP. The next stage of updating the LEP will be the environmental lands review (also known as the deferred lands) which will be exhibited before the end of 2022.

DPE has advised the LEP will be gazetted by 30 June 2022 and will have a one month deferred commencement, meaning that it will come into force one month after gazettal. This allows time for Council to switch its processes to the new LEP, as well as for applicants to familiarise themselves with the CCLEP.

 

Council forecasting year end surplus 

Council is on track to forecast a year end surplus for the 2021-22 financial year as indicated in the Quarter 3 Business Report. 

Council CEO, David Farmer said a number of factors were contributing to the forecasted year end surplus. 

“We have had tight reins on our financial management while we have been waiting for the outcomes of two IPART submissions, for ordinary rates and water, sewerage and stormwater drainage prices,” Mr Farmer said. 

“With both these determinations being made in just the last month, we now have a clear sight of Council’s long term financial position.  Before that, we could not take for granted what Council’s revenue looked like for the next few years and responsibly reduced spending in some areas to account for this uncertainty. 

“While we are currently performing better than budget, we have a high level of position vacancies, and we know this is causing difficulty in our delivery of services to our customers in a number of areas. Additionally, the delivery of some projects have been impacted by interruptions due to NSW Public Health Orders for COVID-19, materials shortage and wet weather; all contributing to reduced spending in some areas.  

“Now that we have longer-term stability in our revenue, we can carefully reinvest these funds in the best ways to meet our community expectations of service delivery,” Mr Farmer said. 

Council Administrator, Rik Hart confirmed the forecasted surpluses would contribute to repaying the emergency loans over the next 10 years.  

“I assure the community that the financial crisis of Central Coast Council is over. We have achieved one of the most significant financial turnarounds of any organisation in under 12 months. We put in place a financial recovery plan and have met all milestones and targets. Our task now is continuing our 10-year long-term financial plan that provides financial stability for the organisation,” Mr Hart said. 


Local community service to benefit from Council’s Community Support Grant Program 

Council is continuing to assess applications to its Community Grants Program in order to support local programs, projects and events that build connections and celebrate the local community. 

As part of this, an additional $4,000 from its Community Support Grants Program has been allocated to Central Coast Emergency Accommodation Services Limited, to assist in the installation of Tiny Homes Security, including the addition of CCTV and restricted master key system.

Council Administrator, Rik Hart said Council’s Community Support Grants Program supports local community organisations to continue to deliver important services that benefit and support the local community.

“It is great to see Central Coast Emergency Accommodation Services Limited receive necessary financial and in-kind support needed to deliver a safe environment for local community members to find refuge in a time of need,” Mr Hart said. 

“Council’s Community Support Grants applications are open year-round, with allocated funding under this grant program for the 2021/22 financial year still available. We encourage the local community applying for Community Grants to take part in one of our upcoming grant writing workshops or drop-in sessions, in order to strengthen their application and enhance their chances of success.’

To find our more visit centralcoast.nsw.gov.au/grants

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Last updated : Tue 24 May 2022