MESSAGE FROM WEDDIN SHIRE MAYOR
The 2016/2017 Financial Year saw the continuation of the Integrated Planning and Reporting (IPR) process which has seen Council take a more strategic approach to asset management and the provision of services to our rate payers.
This process facilitated the development, review, endorsement and adoption of the following plans by Council: *2017-2026 – Community Strategic Plan *2017-2021 – Delivery Program *2017-2018 – Operational Plan *Resourcing Strategy (including the Asset Management Plan (AMP), Long Term Financial Plan (LTFP) and workforce plan).
While Council endorsed our strategic direction for the next ten years the 2017-2021 Delivery Program was developed and outlines projects to be undertaken in the four-year period including: *Grenfell Swimming Pool Development *Grenfell Medical Centre Development *Grenfell Main Street upgrade *Facilitate Aged Care Development Councils resourcing strategy indicates that these capital projects will be funded in the following ways: *Loans *Grant Funding *Special Rate Variations.
In regards to the Swimming Pool development Council previously accepted the tender from ICON Building Group to undertake the project with works in progress. In regards to the construction of the amenities building Council re-submitted a grant funding application on the 10 February, 2017 under the ClubGrants Category 3 program and as at the 30 June 2017 we were awaiting the outcome. As the grant is not retrospective Council cannot commence construction until the grant funding process is exhausted. In regards to the construction of the new Grenfell Health Hub Council resubmitted its grant funding application under the Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF) on Tuesday 28 February, 2017 and as at the 30 June 2017 we were awaiting the outcome. The BBRF replaced the National Stronger Regions Fund (NSRF) with the new funding programme restricted to Rural and Regional areas. The completion of both of these projects will not only assist in closing our assets infrastructure gap but will allow us to continue to provide quality services. In regards to Local Government reform Council received advice from the previous Minister for Local Government the Hon Paul Toole MP that Councils ‘Fit for the Future’ (FFTF) proposal was assessed against the financial sustainability criteria and associated bench marks and we were found to be ‘fit’.
Council implemented a number of strategies to ensure we would be financially sustainable such as the implementation of a Special Rate Variation (SRV), revaluation and review of our road assets and in particular their useful lives which effectively resulted in a reduction in our depreciation expense as well as implementing other strategies to increase income and reduce expenditure.
Council was also instrumental in the Mid Lachlan Alliance receiving $400k under the Innovation Fund to enable us to become fiscally responsible and undertake two service reviews, as well as reviewing our internal systems to allow us to work in a much more efficient and effective manner. While we have avoided amalgamation and are now deemed ‘Fit for the Future’ we are under no illusions that we are immune from the reform process as the process is ongoing. We will have to embrace change to remain financially sustainable in the future and remain as an independent Council. Friday 11 November, 2016 was a significant day for service provision in the Weddin Shire with Service NSW relocating to the Council office.
The transfer of these services ensures the services remain in the Weddin Shire. The services remaining in Grenfell at the Council Chambers will also enhance Council’s long term sustainability and assist us to remain ‘Fit for the Future’ and as Weddin Shire Council in the long term. Council’s Roads Maintenance Council Contract (RMCC) with the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) on SH6 and SH17 continued during 2016/2017 with good results. Council is accredited to conduct upgrade works to the nominal value of $2,000,000 for each individual project which is very beneficial to Council and the community. Other major works were conducted on various main and local roads with Grenfell streets construction and village maintenance works also undertaken. The Forbes Street caravan parking proposal was also finalised which included a beautification plan which will facilitate the use of the area for caravan parking.
Council continues to respond to land use pressures and is continuing a review of the Shire’s Large Lot Residential supply with a view to providing more and better located stocks. In addition the adoption of a comprehensive Development Control Plan provides important performance standards to where and how our various land zones are developed. Council also continues to invest in plant and equipment and information technology allowing staff to operate in a much more efficient environment.
Council also completed upgrade works at Lawson Oval and the Sewerage Treatment Works allowing the treatment works to comply with Environment Protection Authority requirements. Other ancillary works included Quandialla Pool improvements, Henry Lawson Birthplace upgrade and Garbage Tip works. Grenfell celebrated its Sesquicentenary in 2016 being the 150th Anniversary of Grenfell’s settlement with the celebrations culminating on the October 2016 long weekend. The theme “Come Home to Grenfell” saw past and present residents celebrate Grenfell’s rich history on this special occasion.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Councillors and staff for their support, advice and assistance during the 2016/2017 financial year. I look forward to continuing to work with Council’s team in the future to deliver the projects identified and prioritised in the Integrated Planning and Reporting process.
CLR MARK LIEBICH MAYOR