COMMENT: Let's talk about money and roads
THIS month we need to have the conversation with our community about the state of our infrastructure and roads.
How are we going to fund the upkeep in the future?
With a relatively small ratepayer base of 15,500 we're struggling to keep
Rarely a day would go by where I don't have someone contact me about a pothole, a bad patch of road or the need for new works.
Whilst I'm proud of the in-roads (intentional pun alert) we've tackled with our ageing infrastructure over the past four years, it's still not enough.
Yes, pay parking revenue will help. But $2 million a year is still not enough to address our backlog; currently sitting at about $40 million.
Yes, looking for efficiencies, savings and reviewing our asset portfolio has helped.
But, we still need more funding to maintain and renew our infrastructure. Without it, our roads will continue to decline.
Despite our many requests, a bed tax or tourist tax is not supported by the NSW state government. But we will continue to lobby on this issue.
Now is the time that we need to look at our general land rates.
Our shire has not had rate rise since 2008/09 and we've been capped with a rate peg each year that does not keep up with the cost of wages, materials and construction.
Our neighbouring shires have all had rate increases approved above the rate peg, or are about to apply.
It won't be a popular conversation; increased bills never are- it isn't in my home and no doubt yours too. But without it, we will fall further behind.
As part of the conversation, we will need to look at our Hardship Policy and rating structure to minimise effects on our vulnerable.
However, without a rate rise, our shire won't be considered Fit for the Future and we could become a target for amalgamation.
We're keen to know what you think. But please, think carefully about solutions and how we can improve the state of our roads and infrastructure.
Be part of our conversation on the proposed Special Rate Variation.
Chat to staff, take our survey and let us know what you think.