The decision to begin consultation follows a
recent Asset Survey undertaken by Council.
“Back in August Council commissioned an
independent consultant to undertake an asset survey,” explained Council’s
General Manager, Ann Prendergast.
“This report revealed that residents were
relatively supportive of a proposal by Council to increase funding for its
assets including parks, stormwater drainage and buildings,” Ms Prendergast
said. “This report follows on the back of a community satisfaction survey
undertaken in July which highlighted roads and general infrastructure as some
of the areas requiring most urgent attention.”
The customer satisfaction survey follows on
from Council’s Fit for the Future Improvement Action Plan submitted to
the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) in June this
year. One of the identified key improvement strategies of this endorsed action
plan included an application to IPART for a Special Rate Variation.
“Our Fit for the Future submission was a
significant milestone document for this Shire,” Ms Prendergast said. “It
detailed how we proposed to guide our Shire’s growth and deliver quality
services in-line with our community’s expectations in the years ahead.”
“It highlighted where we both met the State
Government’s Fit for the Future benchmarks but also detailed our short-comings
and our proposed improvement strategies to achieve the remaining targets.”
Under the Fit for the Future reforms,
councils across the State had to meet a series of ‘fitness’ criteria relating
to scale, capacity and financial health.
In an earlier review undertaken by the NSW
Independent Local Government Review Panel,
Wingecarribee was categorised as sustainable
in its current form and not recommended for
“Even though our Shire wasn’t earmarked for a
merger and we had a healthy financial platform from which to prepare our
submission, we still have much work to do to meet the remaining criteria and
prove we can remain as a stand-alone Council,” Ms Prendergast said.
In particular, the review found that
Wingecarribee Shire Council needed to invest more in asset renewals.
“This means we need to spend more money on
existing infrastructure like our roads and footpaths or face a larger bill down
the track as they deteriorate with age,” the General Manager added. “It’s an
issue not unique to our Shire and is a situation being grappled with across all
levels of government.”
A range of strategies to meet the remaining benchmarks
by 2020 was included in the adopted submission including an SRV application.
This application would form part of Council’s broader longterm financial
“We’ll be visiting various locations and
attending numerous events throughout the Shire,” Ms
Prendergast said. “We encourage as many
people as possible to attend to learn more about the proposal.”
Meetings scheduled for Wednesday 21 October
at the Moss Vale Civic Centre will also feature question time with senior
management of Council.
In coming days households across the Shire
will also receive an information booklet detailing different funding scenarios
and options. This will include a Reply Paid postcard survey and will be further
followed up by a random telephone survey and an online survey.
“It’s really important that our residents
provide us with their feedback and opinions because ultimately, their decision
will influence the course of action that Council proposes,” Ms Prendergast
“We’re waiting to hear how our residents want
our Shire to look and feel in the years ahead.”
For more information including the full
schedule of public Information Kiosks visit Council’s online consultation hub www.yoursaywingecarribee.com.au