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Circular Head Planning for the Future

17 June 2015

Circular Head Mayor Daryl Quilliam said this year’s Annual Plan and Budget Estimates were focused on planning for the future.

“Having just completed formulating the Long Term Financial Plan and the Strategic Asset Management Plan for the next 10 years, Council has taken a balanced approach to ensuring we are sustainable in the long term,” Mayor Quilliam said.

“With continuing pressures from the freezing of indexation for Federal Government grants and the increasing cost of depreciation of our expansive road and bridge network, this is no easy task.”

In line with these pressures, Council will be considering the adoption of the 2015/16 Annual Plan and Budget Estimates at Thursday night’s Council meeting, which provides for a general rate increase of 2.8%.

Mayor Quilliam said while the rate increase was slightly above the Local Government Association of Tasmania’s Council Cost Index of 2.48%, it reflected the challenge Circular Head faced as a community.

“Moving forward Council will need to reassess its activities, level of operations, maintenance levels and creation of new assets,” Mayor Quilliam said.

“One such exercise to plan for the future is the Open Space and Recreation plan for the next 10 years, which will take into account the community’s needs now and into the future.”

“This will see a continued search for improved efficiencies across the board.”

Mayor Quilliam said the budget invested heavily in infrastructure, with a total capital transport spend of $3,671,362, while Council’s operational spending will be $13.5 million for the financial year.

“The capital transport spend reflects the ongoing costs of maintaining and upgrading of more than 760km of roads in our municipality, which are just one of the many services provided by Council,” Mayor Quilliam said.

“This is why work on our long term Strategic Asset Management Plan is very important as it will give us not only the best picture of the current state of our assets, but also how to continue to maintain them into the future.”

One asset in focus this year is stormwater with the introduction of a new rate.

“Council has introduced the rate for the first time this financial year to move to a user pays system,” Mayor Quilliam said.

“Previously all ratepayers have contributed to the cost of stormwater and this change will mean that only those who are able to access the service are the ones who pay for the service.”

Council will be applying the stormwater rate in increments over the next three years, at which time the rate will be recovering the costs of the service.

Mayor Quilliam said while Council has reaffirmed to remain as a single entity and to not be amalgamated with any other Councils, the existing resource sharing arrangement in place will set Council on the right path to addressing the various challenges ahead.

“This is the best approach to ensure we continue to deliver to our community and keep our services local,” Mayor Quilliam said.

“Moving forward Circular Head will be working with West Coast, King Island, Waratah-Wynyard and Burnie City Councils to further this aim with the creation of a 25 year community plan for the Murchison area.”

In terms of other fees and charges, the rural collection of waste (fortnightly) increase is from $90 to $99, urban collection (weekly) increase is from $131 to $132, the waste utility increases from $63 to $68 and recycling from $57 to $68. The price of these services is based on cost recovery.

Key initiatives and highlights in the 2015/16 Annual Plan and Budget Estimates include:

  • $900,000 - rural road re-sheeting
  • $541,000 - bridge renewals
  • $300,000 - Rocklyn Road upgrade
  • $280,000 - renewal of road pavement Trowutta Road/Grooms Cross Road junction West
  • $190,000 - Sampson Avenue infrastructure renewal
  • $180,000 - renewal of road pavement Mella Rd
  • $126,500 - renew footpath, Forest
  • $60,000 - development of open space and recreation plan
  • $50,000 – Implementation of the Smithton landscape development strategy
  • $32,000 - Stanley Town Centre Master Plan
  • $22,500 - energy efficient upgrades to Council operated buildings
  • $10,000 - Website upgrade  and community photography competition
  • $7,000 - bus shelter Forest