Parkes Council prepares to consolidate reserves

Council's meeting this week was again held online.

Council's meeting this week was again held online.

Parkes Council general manager Kent Boyd says the focus of the council for the next two years should be looking at how to consolidate its reserves.

During discussion on the council's draft budget at the council's monthly meeting on May 19, Mr Boyd said "the next two years we're looking at how to consolidate our reserves and get them back in shape".

"Over the last five years there has been nearly $195 million worth of assets constructed," Mr Boyd said.

"It's probably been the biggest build over a five year period the council has ever done.

"We've done that with substantial grants and now its time we exercised a little bit of moderation to make sure we get our reserves and start building our finances back up for the next term of council," Mr Boyd said.

The draft budget provides for a 2.6% increase in ordinary rates yield for the 2020/21 year, in line with the rate cap determined by the NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART).

Council is not proposing any pricing increases for water access or usage charges in 2020/21.

It is proposed that the standard residential sewer access charge be increased from $480 to $528 for the 2020-21 year.

Council said the proposed increase of 10% is based off financial modelling of the sewer fund over the next 10 years.

Increases in operating costs from the new sewer treatment plant, pump station and advanced water recycling facility, along with increased depreciation expenses are all attributable to the pricing increase.

The increase in the sewer rate, Council said, is required to generate a operating surplus.

The cost of Domestic Waste Service will be $420 per service.

The charge includes provision for the current three bin service, being a green lidded 'organics' bin weekly, the recycling service remaining on a fortnightly basis and the residual or mixed waste bin on a fortnightly service.

The Charge includes the variation in service costs under the new Regional Collection Contract, which commenced with the three-bin system from 4 April 2016.

"We don't anticpate any increase in the water fund so are keeping water chagres the same," Mr Boyd said.

In terms of capital works Mr Boyd said there is around $14 million in the budget for roadworks, library and country university $1.4 million and for completion of the multi purpose centre and main street works $3 million.

":A lot of thought has gone into it, to bringing council's operation back to a more sustainable level," mayor Ken Keith said of the draft budget.

"I do note that over 50 per cent of this budget is going to roads, water and sewerage in the shire are.

"We're still concentrating on delivering service to our community.

"At the beginning of this council everyone wanted us to concentrate on delivering the services that we were delivering and not to make cuts to enable the budget to be trimmed, so I do commend the budget and the wonderful work that has been put into it.

"It is a difficult year for a lot of people in Parkes, we have a two stream economy at the moment.

"People involved in construction and mining are really going gang busters, but shops like coffee shops and restaurants have seen the major impact of COVID-19.

"The budget is based on a sustainable future for the Parkes Shire," Mr Keith said.