NAMBUCCA SHIRE COUNCIL

 

General Purpose Committee - 20 January 2010

 

 

AGENDA                                                                                                   Page

 

1        APOLOGIES

2        DISCLOSURE OF INTEREST

3        General Manager Report

8.1     Proposal to seek a Special Rate Variation in 2010/2011 for Restoration of Flood Damage and Repair of Riverside Drive

8.2     Progress on Operation of Macksville Memorial Aquatic Centre

4        Director Environment and Planning Report

9.1     Report on the Valuation for structures on Council's footpaths under the adopted Approvals Policy

9.2     Future of Local Government SoE Reporting

9.3     Consolidated 2009/2010 Environmental Levy Program and Draft 2010/2012 (2 Year) Environmental Levy

5        Director Engineering Services Report

10.1   Backflow Prevention Policy    

 

 

 

Time

Description

Where

OS/CC

Item No

Page No

08.30

Meet new staff member/s:

Peter Baynes, Manager Assets

Jason Frost, Sewer Attendant

Darrell Flanders, Site leader for Cycleway Project

 

CC

-

-

08.45

Inspect Aquatic Centre Operations

OS

8.2

13

09.30

Future Local Government SoE Reporting

CC

9.2

26

09.45

Backflow Prevention

CC

10.1

78

10.00

Morning Tea

 

 

 

10.20

Proposal to seek Special Rate Variation in 2010/2011

CC

8.1

4

11.00

Consolidated Environmental Levy 2009/10 and Proposed Program for 2010/2012

CC

9.3

30

11.30

Report on the Structures on Council Valuation for Footpaths

CC

9.1

16

12.00 noon

Lunch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


NAMBUCCA SHIRE COUNCIL

 

 

DISCLOSURE OF INTEREST AT MEETINGS

 

 

Name of Meeting:

 

Meeting Date:

 

Item/Report Number:

 

Item/Report Title:

 

 

 

I

 

declare the following interest:

          (name)

 

 

 

 

Pecuniary – must leave chamber, take no part in discussion and voting.

 

 

 

Non Pecuniary – Significant Conflict – Recommended that Councillor/Member leaves chamber, takes no part in discussion or voting.

 

 

Non-Pecuniary – Less Significant Conflict – Councillor/Member may choose to remain in Chamber and participate in discussion and voting.

 

For the reason that

 

 

 

 

 

 

Signed

 

Date

 

 

 

 

 

Council’s Email Address – council@nambucca.nsw.gov.au

 

Council’s Facsimile Number – (02) 6568 2201

 

(Instructions and definitions are provided on the next page).

 


Definitions

 

(Local Government Act and Code of Conduct)

 

 

Pecuniary – An interest that a person has in a matter because of a reasonable likelihood or expectation of appreciable financial gain or loss to the person or another person with whom the person is associated.

(Local Government Act, 1993 section 442 and 443)

 

A Councillor or other member of a Council Committee who is present at a meeting and has a pecuniary interest in any matter which is being considered must disclose the nature of that interest to the meeting as soon as practicable.

 

The Council or other member must not take part in the consideration or discussion on the matter and must not vote on any question relating to that matter. (Section 451).

 

 

Non-pecuniary – A private or personal interest the council official has that does not amount to a pecuniary interest as defined in the Act (for example; a friendship, membership of an association, society or trade union or involvement or interest in an activity and may include an interest of a financial nature).

 

If you have declared a non-pecuniary conflict of interest you have a broad range of options for managing the conflict.  The option you choose will depend on an assessment of the circumstances of the matter, the nature of your interest and the significance of the issue being dealt with.  You must deal with a non-pecuniary conflict of interest in at least one of these ways.

 

·        It may be appropriate that no action is taken where the potential for conflict is minimal.  However, council officials should consider providing an explanation of why they consider a conflict does not exist.

·        Limit involvement if practical (for example, participate in discussion but not in decision making or visa-versa).  Care needs to be taken when exercising this option.

·        Remove the source of the conflict (for example, relinquishing or divesting the personal interest that creates the conflict or reallocating the conflicting duties to another officer).

·        Have no involvement by absenting yourself from and not taking part in any debate or voting on the issue as if the provisions in section 451(2) of the Act apply (particularly if you have a significant non-pecuniary conflict of interest).

 

         


General Purpose Committee

20 January 2010

General Manager's Report

ITEM 8.1      SF1460            200110         Proposal to seek a Special Rate Variation in 2010/2011 for Restoration of Flood Damage and Repair of Riverside Drive

 

AUTHOR/ENQUIRIES:     Michael Coulter, General Manager         

 

Summary:

 

Council has the option of preparing a budget which has rate revenue of less than the rate pegging limit; not seeking a special variation and accepting the rate pegging limit; or thirdly seeking a special variation above the rate pegging limit.

 

Over the past 5 years, Council has increased its expenditure on roads and bridges by $5m over and above what would otherwise have been the case, an average additional expenditure of $1.25m per year. This has been achieved by a series of small special rate variations, the proceeds of which are being used to repay interest and principal on $5m in loans.  Council was granted a special variation of 2% in 2006/07, 2007/08 and 2008/09 with a further special variation of 1.3% in this financial year.

 

Even with the increased capital expenditure on roads and bridges over the past 5 years, Council’s asset renewal ratio is estimated to still be only 0.60.  This means that Council expended about 60 cents on asset renewals for every $1.00 of estimated reduction in asset condition in the same period.  However by way of comparison, and to indicate the value of the increased spending on roads and bridges, in 2007 Council’s assets renewal ratio was estimated to be 0.24.

 

In assessing the replacement rate of depreciating assets it is also important to note that Special Schedule No. 7, which is an unaudited statement prepared in conjunction with Council’s financial report, discloses that the estimated cost to bring roads and bridges to a satisfactory standard is $13.1m.

 

A setback in 2009 has been the shortfall in natural disaster funding to repair damage to Council assets incurred in the 5 major flood events.  The RTA which administers the funding has to date refused to provide any compensation for damage to the Deep Creek bridge and has similarly refused funding to stabilise land slips which have occurred in road reservations in urban areas.

 

The estimated cost of demolishing and replacing Deep Creek Bridge with a single lane timber bridge is $385,000.  However given its estuarine environment it would be preferable that it be replaced with a single lane concrete bridge, the cost including demolition of the old bridge being $525,000.  As with Congarinni Bridge this cost is about 7% of the Council’s rate income.

 

The estimate for the repair of the major landslip which occurred on Riverside Drive during the February 2009 flood event is $350,000 plus design and supervision.

 

In 2009 Council also became aware of sections of instability in Riverside Drive itself.  Following the relocation of the Pacific Highway, the RTA transferred Riverside Drive to Council as a local road.  However it is now apparent that it was constructed with excessive batters in a shale material which is prone to land slip.  Geotechnical consultants GHD have now identified 3 unstable sections of road with the estimated cost of undertaking repairs being $750,000 plus design and supervision.

 

In summary the 5 major flood events in 2009 have to date left Council with a funding shortfall of $875,000.  There is a further $750,000 liability in relation to repairs to Riverside Drive mainly as a consequence of its design and construction.  Council has also lost approximately $75,000 in road funding in perpetuity as a consequence of the reclassification of 14.7 kilometres of regional road to a local road.

 

It is proposed that Council consider a small special variation of 1% in 2010/11 to borrow $500,000m, ie the rate pegging limit plus 1%.  The funds would be borrowed over a 10 year period.  This funding would be added to the funds derived from the positive operating result in 2009/10 to provide additional expenditure of about $900,000 in 2010/2011 for the replacement of Deep Creek bridge with a single lane structure; for the repair of landslips on Riverside Drive; and for the repair of sections of Riverside Drive which have been assessed by Geotechnical consultants GHD as “almost certain” or “likely” to fail.

 

It is also proposed that Council seek renewal of its environmental levy and this will be separately reported.

 

This report is being brought forward now as the Department’s deadline for applications seeking a special variation under Section 508(2) is Friday 26 March 2010.  This was announced in a circular dated 18 December 2009.  This means that Council has to submit their comprehensive application, including the results of the draft management plan consultation and resolution to adopt the plan by 26 March 2010.

 

As a consequence of this new deadline, the program for the preparation of the management plan has been revised with a new deadline for Council to consider and adopt a final draft being 18 March 2010.  This is to allow an application for a special variation to be lodged by the deadline of 26 March 2010.

 

 

Recommendation:

 

1.       That Council plan to seek a special variation of 1% in 2010/11 (ie the rate pegging limit plus           1%) to borrow $500,000 over a 10 year period, with the funding to be added to funds           derived from the positive operating result in 2009/10 and to be applied to make up the           shortfall in Natural Disaster Funding and specifically the replacement of Deep Creek           bridge with a single lane structure and to the repair of existing and potential landslips on           Riverside Drive in the order of priority assessed by Council’s geotechnical consultants.

 

2.       That this proposal be advertised in the local media for 21 days.

 

 

 

OPTIONS:

 

Council has the option of preparing a budget which has rate revenue of less than the rate pegging limit; not seeking a special variation and accepting the rate pegging limit; or thirdly seeking a special variation above the rate pegging limit.

 

Given existing asset management issues, a budget which has rate revenue of less than the rate pegging limit is not financially prudent or sustainable and should not be considered.

 

A budget which sets rate revenue at the rate pegging limit will not provide for the renewal of roads and bridges as they deteriorate, let alone catch up the considerable backlog.  Council will be unable to fund the repair of flood damage and the community will have to accept higher levels of risk in relation to the landslips on Riverside Drive.

 

Within the third option of preparing a budget which seeks a special variation above the rate pegging limit, there are sub-options in relation to the size of the special variation.  The report indicates there is a funding shortfall of $875,000 in relation to the repair of flood damage with a further $750,000 being required to repair sections of Riverside Drive which are at risk of land slip, a total expenditure of $1,625,000.  Allowing for an expected working funds surplus in 2009/2010, Council would need to seek a special variation of over 2% to fund this work.

 

In considering the quantum of a special variation there are a number of considerations.  First and foremost is the financial impact on ratepayers and in particular for the Nambucca Valley the recognition there is a larger proportion of the community on fixed and lower incomes than the State average.  However there are other considerations being:

 

·      the capacity of the Council to undertake the work proposed to be funded by the special variation

·      the risks posed by not undertaking the work

·      possible future increases in rates and charges to fund major capital works

·      the relativity of this Council’s rates and charges compared to other Councils and particularly nearby Councils

·      key financial indicators including the asset renewals ratio, unrestricted ratio and debt service ratio

·      the results of Council’s customer satisfaction survey conducted in November 2007 which provided high importance, low satisfaction rankings to sealed roads, bridges, estuary management, environmental monitoring and protection, public toilets, footpaths and cycleways and youth activities.  90% of respondents believed that Council needs to spend more on maintaining local roads and bridges and similarly roads emerged as the number one priority should extra funding become available.  In the survey 76% of respondents were prepared to accept increased rates to fund improved roads and bridges.

 

Weighing up these considerations, the preferred option is to seek a special variation of 1% as well as continuation of the environmental levy.

 

DISCUSSION:

 

Over the past 5 years, Council has increased its expenditure on roads and bridges by $5m over and above what would otherwise have been the case, an average additional expenditure of $1.25m per year. This has been achieved by a series of small special rate variations, the proceeds of which are being used to repay interest and principal on $5m in loans.  Council was granted a special variation of 2% in 2006/07, 2007/08 and 2008/09 with a further special variation of 1.3% in this financial year.

 

Putting aside increased rate payer satisfaction, this strategy for improving the condition of Council’s road and bridge assets is good financial planning.  Ultimately the cost for maintaining a given section of road or bridge will be higher if it is not maintained in a good condition.  In the case of roads, a relatively inexpensive reseal will instead become expensive pavement rehabilitation.  Two circularised documents indicate what the program has achieved for urban streets and rural roads.

 

Even with the increased capital expenditure on roads and bridges over the past 5 years, Council’s asset renewal ratio is estimated to still be only 0.60.  This means that Council expended about 60 cents on asset renewals for every $1.00 of estimated reduction in asset condition in the same period.  However by way of comparison, and to indicate the value of the increased spending on roads and bridges, in 2007 Council’s assets renewal ratio was estimated to be 0.24.

 

In assessing the replacement rate of depreciating assets it is also important to note that Special Schedule No. 7, which is an unaudited statement prepared in conjunction with Council’s financial report, discloses that the estimated cost to bring roads and bridges to a satisfactory standard is $13.1m.  This is major factor in the local government financial consultants, Fiscal Star nominating this Council (along with many others) as being financially unsustainable.

 

There are a number of historical reasons as well as new concerns which should cause Council to consider seeking a small special variation for the 2010/2011 year.

 

Historical Issues

 

The Nambucca Valley has the unfortunate distinction of having the greatest number of timber bridges per square kilometre of any Council in NSW.  The bridge network serves the rural areas and Council staff have explored the opportunity to reduce the bridge network where alternate routes are available.  Recommendations to close a number of bridges have been strenuously opposed by the affected communities and to date Council has chosen to maintain all of its bridges.

 

There are currently 194 bridges and major culverts in the Shire with the majority being timber.  The oldest bridges date back to the 1930’s.  At present 22 bridges are in poor condition and this number will reduce to 14 at the end of this financial year.  Bridges are also high cost assets.  Recently Council resolved to spend $506,000 on repairs to Congarinni Bridge, equivalent to 7% of general rate income.  The cost of a full upgrade of the bridge was estimated at $1.25m, equivalent to 17% of general rate income.

 

The Council is responsible for the maintenance of 701 kilometres of road, about the distance between the Nambucca Valley and Canberra.  The road network is comprised of 352 kilometres of sealed road and 349 kilometres of unsealed road.

 

Council uses 5 categories for condition rating bitumen roads being:

 

1        Near Perfect

2        Superficial deterioration

3        Serious deterioration

4        Major reconstruction required

5        Unserviceable asset

 

In 2009, for sealed rural roads alone, 3.9 kilometres were considered to be condition 5 (unserviceable); 67.8 kilometres were considered to be condition 4 (major reconstruction required); whilst 83.3 kilometres were considered to be condition 3 (serious deterioration).  In total 155 kilometres of sealed rural road is in a poor or worse than poor condition.  This compares to the total sealed rural road network of 205 kilometres.  At this stage comparative data for sealed urban roads is not available.

 

Another feature of the Nambucca Valley arising from its rural heritage is a network of community halls which like bridges, must rank amongst the highest per capita ratio’s in NSW.  The Council has 15 general purpose community halls alone.  Added to this are specific purpose venues such as the Bowraville Theatre and Senior Citizens Centres.  In general terms the halls are of advanced age and will require increasing maintenance and capital expenditure.  There has been considerable reporting on Council’s financial and risk liability in relation to the halls.  This has recently culminated in the closure of the Argent’s Hill hall and a resolution to sell the Pioneer Community Centre in Bowraville.  Like bridges, the closure of halls is strenuously opposed by the affected community.

 

And like all NSW Councils, decades of rate pegging has meant the differences between rate pegging limits (which have approximated the CPI) and actual depreciation rates now have to be funded.

 

New Concerns

 

In June 2009 the RTA reclassified the MR118 being 14.7 kilometres of road between Bowraville and Bellingen from a regional road to a local road.  What this effectively means is that based on the RTA’s funding formula for regional roads, Nambucca Shire Council will lose approximately $75,000 per annum in road funding.  This is equivalent to about 1% of general rate income.

 

A setback in 2009 has been the shortfall in natural disaster funding to repair damage to Council assets incurred in the 5 major flood events.  The RTA which administers the funding has to date refused to provide any compensation for damage to the Deep Creek bridge and has similarly refused funding to stabilise land slips which have occurred in road reservations in urban areas.

 

The estimated cost of demolishing and replacing Deep Creek Bridge with a single lane timber bridge is $385,000.  However given its estuarine environment it would be preferable that it be replaced with a single lane concrete bridge, the cost including demolition of the old bridge being $525,000.  As with Congarinni Bridge this cost is about 7% of the Council’s rate income.

 

The estimate for the repair of the major landslip which occurred on Riverside Drive during the February 2009 flood event is $350,000 plus design and supervision.

 

In 2009 Council also became aware of sections of instability in Riverside Drive itself.  Following the relocation of the Pacific Highway, the RTA transferred Riverside Drive to Council as a local road.  However it is now apparent that it was constructed with excessive batters in a shale material which is prone to land slip.  Geotechnical consultants GHD have now identified 3 unstable sections of road with the estimated cost of undertaking repairs being $750,000 plus design and supervision.

 

In summary the 5 major flood events in 2009 have to date left Council with a funding shortfall of $875,000.  There is a further $750,000 liability in relation to repairs to Riverside Drive mainly as a consequence of its design and construction.  Council has also lost approximately $75,000 in road funding in perpetuity as a consequence of the reclassification of 14.7 kilometres of regional road to a local road.

 

Council has raised all of these matters in correspondence to the RTA and the Minister, with the Mayor and General Manager meeting with the Minister on 3 December 2009.  As no additional funding has been forthcoming, Council should now plan to finance at least some of the required work.

 

Recommended Approach

 

Events in 2009 and particularly the 5 natural disasters, has significantly added to the existing historical backlog in infrastructure replacement.  In developing a plan to respond to this backlog, the only available approaches are to either reduce costs or increase revenues or a combination of the two.

 

In relation to cost savings, a broad range of initiatives have been implemented over the past 3 years to ensure a focus on funding roads and bridges.  Some of the savings and expenditure reductions have been:

 

1.   Non replacement of the Director Corporate Services

2.   Reducing pot hole patching crew from 5 to 3

3.   Making redundant the position of excavator operator with savings being applied to increasing the town services crew staffing from 4 to 5

4.   Tourism officer’s hours reduced from full time to 21 hours per week

5.   Clerical assistance in town planning reduced by 21 hours per week

6.   Non replacement of a Town Planner

7.   Council cars retained to 150,000 kilometres with more fuel efficient vehicles now being leased

8.   Review of insurance schedule and excess

 

One crude indicator of organisational efficiency is the number of equivalent full time staff per 1,000 population.  It is important to appreciate there are a number of factors affecting this indicator being:

 

·      the Council’s budget and organisation structure

·      the level of contracting out eg changes from day labour to contract work

·      the type and extent of service delivery

·      whether the council has created or reduced services

 

The following tables provide comparative data for this council and other mid north coast councils.

Based on the Department of Local Government’s most recent comparative statistics for 2007/2008, the equivalent full time staff per 1,000 population for mid north coast councils is as follows.

 

 

Number of Equivalent Full Time Staff in 2007/2008 and per 1,000 Population (estimated resident population at 30 June 2007)

 

Council

Equivalent Full Time Staff

Equivalent Full Time Staff/1,000 population

Greater Taree1

254

5.4

Nambucca

119

6.4

Port Macquarie - Hastings

509

7.0

Coffs Harbour

520

7.5

Kempsey

267

9.3

Bellingen

125

9.6

Great Lakes1

336

9.8

Gloucester

87

17.5

 

1  Greater Taree and Great Lakes Council are not responsible for water and sewerage services.  These services are provided by Mid Coast Water.

 

The Nambucca Shire has the second lowest equivalent full time staff/1,000 population of all mid north coast councils.  As Greater Taree Council is not responsible for water and sewerage services, this Council likely has the least equivalent full time staff per 1,000 population for the full range of services provided by most mid north coast councils.

 

Based on the Department of Local Government’s most recent comparative statistics for 2007/2008, comparisons of the average rate per assessment for residential, business and farmland categories for mid north coast councils ranked from lowest to highest are shown in the following tables.

 

 

Average residential rate per assessment in $ – 2007/2008

 

Council

Residential

Gloucester

533

Kempsey

581

Greater Taree

606

Nambucca

625

Coffs Harbour

668

Bellingen

698

Port Macquarie - Hastings

749

Great Lakes

773

 

 

Average business rate per assessment in $ - 2007/2008

 

Council

Business

Bellingen

347

Gloucester

704

Nambucca

1,243

Kempsey

1,252

Great Lakes

2,053

Greater Taree

2,213

Port Macquarie - Hastings

2,499

Coffs Harbour

2,961

 

 

Average farmland rate per assessment in $ – 2007/2008

 

Council

Residential

Great Lakes

485

Greater Taree

1,005

Kempsey

1,131

Coffs Harbour

1,196

Port Macquarie - Hastings

1,288

Nambucca

1,307

Bellingen

1,508

Gloucester

2,316

 

The comparative statistics indicate that the Council has relatively low per capita staffing and in general, mid range rating.

 

Another important indicator is the Council’s debt service ratio.  The indicator assesses the degree to which revenues from continuing operations are committed to the repayment of debt.  The ratio is defined as net debt service cost x 100/income from continuing operations.  It is generally higher for councils in growth areas where loans have been required to fund infrastructure such as roads and water and sewerage works.

 

There is no accepted single “best fit” debt service ratio as there are a number of variables affecting its level including the amount of new development, interest rate movements and loan terms, the level of cash reserves, and the state of infrastructure/life stage of assets.  According to the Department of Local Government, debt service ratios in NSW in 2007/2008 ranged from a low of 0% (17 Councils) to a high of 52% (Berrigan Shire Council).  81 councils (54%) of the 152 councils had a debt service ratio of less than or equal to 5% and a further 43 councils (28%) had a ratio of greater than 5% and less than or equal to 10%.  7 councils (4.7%) had a ratio of greater than 10% and less than or equal to 15%.

 

The Department’s accepted benchmark for the debt service ratio is <10% satisfactory, 10% to 20% is fair, and >20% is of concern.  According to the Department high growth councils may have a high debt service ratio as the use of loan funds for infrastructure improvements and other capital purposes is considered to be a prudent financial strategy allowing for contribution to the cost of the asset through its life by the community.

 

For the year ended 30 June 2009 Nambucca Shire Council’s debt service ratio was 6%.  The following table provides comparisons with other Mid North Coast Councils ranked from lowest to highest.

 

 

Debt Service Ratio – 2007/2008

 

Council

Ratio (%)

Gloucester

0.91

Bellingen

1.41

Nambucca

4.69

Greater Taree

8.70

Great Lakes

9.09

Port Macquarie - Hastings

12.051

Kempsey

13.81

Coffs Harbour

22.70

 

1  The financial statements for Port Macquarie – Hastings for the year ended 30 June 2009 indicate a debt service ratio of 13.32% which presumably includes much of the finance required for the Glasshouse project.

 

 

The data indicates that Nambucca Shire Council has a satisfactory debt service ratio and compared to other mid north coast councils which are experiencing moderate growth, it has a relatively low debt service ratio.  As Council proceeds with the implementation of the Integrated Water Cycle Management Strategy (IWCM), the maintenance of a reasonable debt service ratio can only be achieved by increasing rates and charges to a levy which is adequate to service the

 

The September quarter budget review indicates a net operating result for 2009/10 of $361,600.  This will of course be subject to further review through the year but assuming investment markets maintain their recent performance, Council should have a good working funds surplus by 30 June 2010.

 

It is proposed that Council consider a small special variation of 1% in 2010/11 to borrow $500,000m, ie the rate pegging limit plus 1%.  The funds would be borrowed over a 10 year period.  This funding would be added to the funds derived from the positive operating result in 2009/10 to provide additional expenditure of about $900,000 in 2010/2011 for the replacement of Deep Creek bridge with a single lane structure; for the repair of landslips on Riverside Drive; and for the repair of sections of Riverside Drive which have been assessed by Geotechnical consultants GHD as “almost certain” or “likely” to fail.

 

It is also proposed that Council seek renewal of its environmental levy and this will be separately reported.

 

This report is being brought forward now as the Department’s deadline for applications seeking a special variation under Section 508(2) is Friday 26 March 2010.  This was announced in a circular dated 18 December 2009.  This means that Council has to submit their comprehensive application, including the results of the draft management plan consultation and resolution to adopt the plan by 26 March 2010.

 

As a consequence of this new deadline, the program for the preparation of the management plan has been revised with a new deadline for Council to consider and adopt a final draft being 18 March 2010.  This is to allow an application for a special variation to be lodged by the deadline of 26 March 2010.

 

CONSULTATION:

 

There has been consultation with the Manager Financial Services.

 

SUSTAINABILITY ASSESSMENT:

 

Environment

 

Council’s financing strategy does have implications for the level of expenditure which is available for improving the environment.  The renewal or otherwise of the environmental levy will have particular implications for the environment.

 

Social

 

In 2007 Council engaged Jetty Research to undertake representative polling as to ratepayer satisfaction and priorities for service provision.  Seven areas of service provision were judged as “high importance, low satisfaction” being sealed roads, estuary management, environmental monitoring and protection, public toilets, footpaths and cycle ways, youth activities, and bridges.  There have been some notable achievements in relation to most of these critical service areas – the 5 year program of renewing road and bridges; the estuary management plan and recently completed Master Plan; boardwalk; new cycle way and skate park.  However there has been limited progress on improving public toilets and improved environmental monitoring and protection.

 

In relation to the recommendation, the customer satisfaction survey found that 76% of respondents were agreeable to paying additional rates to fund improved roads and bridges.

 

Economic

 

There are no significant economic implications.

 

Risk

 

There are particular risks associated with the stability of Riverside Drive.  Council’s Safety and Risk Officer has notified Council’s insurer as required by our public liability and professional indemnity insurance policy.  Council will need to consider any requirements which the insurer may impose.

 

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS:

 

Direct and indirect impact on current and future budgets

 

The recommendation, if accepted by Council and the Division of Local Government, would increase Council’s revenue by approximately $75,000 per annum.

 

Source of fund and any variance to working funds

 

At this stage there is no impact on working funds.

 

Attachments:

There are no attachments for this report.


General Purpose Committee

20 January 2010

General Manager's Report

ITEM 8.2      SF1387            200110         Progress on Operation of Macksville Memorial Aquatic Centre

 

AUTHOR/ENQUIRIES:     Steven Williams, Property Officer         

 

Summary:

 

This report is submitted to provide Council with a brief update on the operation of the Macksville Memorial Aquatic Centre.

 

Warranty repairs of the Solar System and Air Conditioning System have been completed with both systems having been recommissioned in October/November 2009.  The Contractor reports that both systems are now operating satisfactorily.

 

The Contractor has complied satisfactorily with the terms of the management contract and is submitting monthly reports detailing the financial, human resource, occupational health and safety and marketing aspects of the operation.

 

It is recommended that the current Reserve contributions and levels be reviewed.  To assist in the review a pool infrastructure, plant and equipment audit is to be conducted early 2010.

 

It is recommended that Council conduct an inspection of the pool during the next General Purpose Committee meeting to review the new facilities and improvements at the pool.

 

 

Recommendation:

 

That Council note the inspection of the Macksville Memorial Aquatic Centre.

 

 

OPTIONS:

 

Council can opt not to inspect the improvement and facilities at the pool.

 

 

DISCUSSION:

 

Pool Contractor – the appointed Contractor has now been operating for 6 months.

 

The Contractor has complied satisfactorily with the terms of the contract and is submitting monthly reports detailing the financial, human resource, occupational health and safety and marketing aspects of the operation.

 

Further, the Contractor has completed the capital improvement works proposed in their tender; those being:

 

·           Fit-out of the gymnasium

·           Installation of windbreaks around the outdoor pool

·           Erection of shade sails around the toddlers pool

·           Renovation of the kiosk area

 

In addition the Contractor has also:

 

·              Repainted the amenities rooms in the Hydrotherapy Pool.

·              Installed new non slip matting around the toddler pool.

·              Completed a fit-out of a first aid room pursuant to Royal Life Saving recommendations and guidelines.

Solar System – The solar system was recommissioned in October 2009.  The work completed under warranty involved the substantial redesign and installation of the water circulation system.  Country Energy advises that their engineer will be monitoring the system over the next 12 months to ensure that it is operating to design standards.  The Contractor reports that the system is operating satisfactorily.

 

Chemical Storage Facility – I have previously reported that a less costly alternative to the required chemical storage upgrade had been identified.  On further investigation, however, the installation of the new system presented occupational health and safety, procurement, storage and delivery issues which rendered the proposal unviable.

 

Staff commissioned a Consultant to compile specifications for an upgrade to the facility which in turn formed the basis of a Development Application to Council.  Development consent is now to hand.  The upgrade will be completed in-house with Council Contractor Mr Trevor Johnson overseeing the project. Works will commence early 2010.

 

Air Conditioning System - The ventilation system causing poor air quality to the Hydrotherapy Pool room and excessive corrosion to fixtures and fittings has been rectified under warranty.  The Contractor advises that the revised system is operating satisfactorily.

 

Current Reserves - Currently Council manages three Reserves for the Pool Infrastructure and Equipment. As at 30 June 2010 the balances will be:

 

Pool Repair                                        $21,000

Pool/Pump replacement                      $14,000

Hydrotherapy/Gymnasium Upkeep       $25,000

 

Staff have commissioned an audit of the Pool infrastructure, plant and equipment.  The objective of the audit is to:

 

·              Take stock of the infrastructure, plant and equipment including, design, make model and age (hereafter referred to as "assets").

·              Ascribe a condition level to the assets and notable components.

·              Estimate the remaining life span of the assets.

·              Estimate the future maintenance expenditure likely to be incurred.

·              Estimate the time frame and replacement cost of the assets.

 

The audit is being compiled to assist in recommending appropriate Reserves levels.  A report will come to Council in due course.

 

10 Year Plan – Staff propose to establish a working group to workshop a 10 year plan for the future use and development of the Aquatic Centre.  It is noted that the Aquatic Centre represents a significant investment to the local community and presents substantial ongoing operating costs.  It is proposed that the ten year plan identify all stakeholders and their respective requirements with a view to formulating an action plan for the next ten years that maximises the use of the facility and guides further development.

 

It is recommended that the formulation of a ten year plan should be completed prior to the Tender for the Management of the pool after 2011.

 

 

CONSULTATION:

 

Pool Contractor

 

 


SUSTAINABILITY ASSESSMENT:

 

Environment

The recommendation does not give rise to any Environmental Issues.

 

Social

 

The recommendation does not give rise to any social issues.

 

Economic

 

The recommendation does not give rise to any economic issues.

 

Risk

 

The recommendation does not present any risk to Council.

 

 

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS:

 

Direct and indirect impact on current and future budgets

 

The recommendations do not impact ion current or future budgets.

 

Source of fund and any variance to working funds

 

No variance in working funds required.

 

Attachments:

There are no attachments for this report.  


General Purpose Committee

20 January 2010

Director Environment & Planning's Report

ITEM 9.1      SF1231            200110         Report on the Valuation for structures on Council's footpaths under the adopted Approvals Policy

 

AUTHOR/ENQUIRIES:     Arthur Tsembis, Manager Planning and Assessment         

 

Summary:

 

North Coast Valuation Services (NCVS) were engaged to undertake an assessment to determine a "fair market rental" for outdoor dining areas for commercial premises. A copy of the report is attached for Council’s information.

 

NCVS has recommended that the following charges for outdoor dining areas should apply:

 

·              Nambucca Heads town centre           $110/m2 pa

·              Macksville town centre                     $110/m2 pa

·              Scotts Head commercial centre        $  40/m2 pa

·              Bowraville town centre                      $  25/m2 pa

 

The current charge for a footpath restaurant is $57 plus $20 for each additional table. A table and four chairs occupy approximately 2m2, which equates to $220 for Nambucca and Macksville town centres. The proposed charges are a relatively high increase to the current charges. For Scotts Head, the proposed increase ($80) is relatively minor and for Bowraville ($50), there is a slight reduction. The proposed charge for more than one table is proportionally higher.

 

The report prepared by NCVS does not specifically address a market valuation for the use of Council’s footpath for signage, trading tables, etc. However, it is considered that the valuation could be applied to implement appropriate new charges for ‘A’ framed signs, trading tables and other structures associated with business premises, and street vending structures in commercial areas.

 

The NCVA report did not include a valuation for business premises in Valla Beach or other locations not in a commercial centre. It is considered that Valla Beach could have the same fee structure adopted for Scotts Head, and other locations could have a lower fee structure that is equivalent to Bowraville.

 

The proposed licence fees and rental payments are generally more that the current fees and charges and it will be recommended that should the "fair market value" be endorsed by Council it be implemented over a 5 year period commencing at 60% of the rate (CPI adjusted annually at 30 June) then 10%(+CPI) each subsequent year for renewals in the 2011/2012 budget year . To enable a comparison of the current and proposed fee structure, an extract from the Revenue Policy (Fees and Charges 2009/2010) for ‘Footway Signage/Trading Tables/Chairs’ is attached at the end of this report for Council’s information.

 

 

Recommendation:

 

1          That Council note the Rental Assessment report prepared by North Coast Valuation Services.

 

2          That Council implement the following annual ‘rental’ fees for outdoor dining areas, trading tables and other structures, and street vending structures for commercial premises over a 5 year period (CPI adjusted annually at 30 June) for all renewals on or after 1 July 2011, commencing at 60% + CPI of the valuation rate then increases at 10% + CPI for subsequent years at the following rates with a minimum of $57 in total:

 

·           Nambucca Heads $110/m2 pa + CPI        (2011/12 – 60% - $66 + CPI)

·           Macksville $110/m2 pa + CPI                   (2011/12 – 60% - $66 + CPI)

·           Scotts Head $40/m2 pa + CPI                  (2011/12 – 60% - $24 + CPI) – Min $57

·           Valla Beach $40/m2 pa + CPI                  (2011/12 – 60% - $24 + CPI) – Min $57

·           Bowraville $25/m2 pa + CPI                              (2011/12 – 60% - $15 + CPI) – Min $57

·           Other locations $25/m2 pa + CPI              (2011/12 – 60% - $15 + CPI) – Min $57

 

3          That Council charge an annual licence fee of $110 for ‘A’ framed or similar signs.

 

4          That Council implement the following annual licence fees for outdoor dining areas, trading tables and other structures, and street vending structures in commercial areas over a 5 year period (CPI adjusted annually at 30 June) for all new applications received on or after the date of adoption of the fees by Council. Commencing at 60% + CPI of the valuation rate then increases at 10% + CPI for subsequent years at the following rates with a minimum of $57 in total:

 

·           Nambucca Heads $110/m2 pa        - 60% = $66 + CPI

·           Macksville $110/m2 pa                   – 60% = $66 + CPI

·           Scotts Head $40/m2 pa                  – 60% = $24 + CPI – Min $57

·           Valla Beach $40/m2 pa                  – 60% = $24 + CPI – Min $57

·           Bowraville $25/m2 pa                    – 60% = $15 + CPI – Min $57

·           Other locations $25/m2 pa              – 60% = $15 + CPI – Min $57

 

5          That upon payment of the annual registration fee for existing approved structures, business owners/operators be advised that they will be required to remove all structures from the footpath after September 2011, unless development consent has been obtained from Council beforehand.

 

6          That if an owner/operator of an existing outdoor dining area intends to apply for a liquor license, then the proponent will be required to lodge a development application and enter into a formal agreement for the exclusive use of the footpath area. The rental payment will be in accordance with the new adopted fees and charges. Any such approval and lease agreement will allow a variation of Alcohol Free Zones that may apply and permit the consumption of alcohol in the designated outdoor dining area.

 

7          That Section 4.0 of the adopted Policy be amended to clarify that ‘Street Vending’ only applies to the exclusive use of an area in a permanent location on Council’s footpath in a commercial centre.

 

 

OPTIONS:

 

There are various options including:

 

1          Not accepting the valuation and retaining the status quo (ie charging an annual registration fee plus CPI increase).

2          Putting a higher or lesser valuation on a per square metre basis.

3          Putting an alternative valuation on the basis of a sign/outdoor dining area/trading table, etc (similar to the current fee structure).

4          Deferring any increased payments in accordance with the proposed new fees and charges (except for any CPI increase) for existing approved structures until September 2011 (this would correspond with the requirement to obtain development consent).

 

 

DISCUSSION:

 

Council at its meeting on 17 September 2009 considered a report dealing with the draft Approvals Policy for the use of footpaths, including the exclusive use of footpath space by restaurants and cafés for outdoor dining areas. In this regard Council resolved:


 

‘That Council allow cafés or restaurants to seek a variation of Alcohol Free Zones to permit the consumption of alcohol in designated outdoor dining areas, only where approval is granted under a formal lease agreement which requires a market value payment for the exclusive use of such areas.’

 

Council’s Property Officer engaged North Coast Valuation Services (NCVS) to undertake an assessment to determine a fair market rental.

 

In accordance with Council’s Revenue Policy – Fees and Charges for 2009/2010, the current licence fee for a ‘Footway Restaurant’ is $57/table, plus $20 for each additional table.

 

NCVS has provided the following fair market rental figures for outdoor dining areas:

 

1          Nambucca Heads town centre             $110/m2 pa

2          Macksville town centre                       $110/m2 pa

3          Scotts Head commercial centre          $  40/m2 pa

4          Bowraville town centre                        $  25/m2 pa

 

Approximately 2m2 is required for an average table and four chairs. This equates to $220pa  for each table and 4 chairs for Macksville and Nambucca, $80pa for Scotts Head and $50pa for Bowraville. The current charge for a table and four chairs is $57 plus $20 for each additional table. For Nambucca and Macksville the proposed increase is relatively high. For Scotts Head the proposed increase is relatively minor, and for Bowraville there is a slight reduction. For business premises with more than one table, the proposed charge is proportionally higher.

 

The NCVA report did not include a valuation for business premises in Valla Beach or other locations not in a commercial centre. It is considered that Valla Beach could have the same fee structure adopted for Scotts Head, and other locations could have a lower fee structure that is equivalent to Bowraville.

 

If Council adopts the above charges they should apply to any new applications for outdoor dining areas and the extension of any existing approved outdoor dining area. These charges should also apply to an existing outdoor dining area if the owner/operator intends to apply for a liquor licence. In this regard the proponent will need to lodge a development application for Council’s consideration.

 

In accordance with Clause 1.5 of the Policy (Transitional Provisions), the new provisions will not apply to existing approved outdoor dining areas until September 2011. However, the transitional provisions do not apply to any annual increase in fees and charges.

 

Current operators of existing approved outdoor dining areas will be allowed to retain their structures for a period of two (2) years (from September 2009), without having to submit a development application. In this regard the Policy states:

 

‘Subject to payment of the annual fee, all business premises that have approval under the previous registration system shall be allowed to retain their approved structures on the footpath for a period of two (2) years from the date on which this Policy is adopted by Council. This concession only applies to the current owners/operators and will cease to apply if the business changes hands and/or the type of business changes.

 

After the two (2) year transitional period all structures shall be removed from the footpath unless development consent has been obtained from Council beforehand. The development application is required to comply with the provisions of this Policy, including a formal agreement for the exclusive use of outdoor dining areas, for which a market value rental payment is made to Council.’

 

Council at its meeting on 17 September 2009 resolved:

 


‘That Council's Revenue Policy be amended and exhibited in accordance with the Local Government Act, which proposes that the annual lease fees for leasing of footpath areas under this Approvals Policy shall be based on "fair market value" with all costs associated with the determination of "fair market value" undertaken by Council's appointed valuer shall be at the cost of the applicant.’

 

Having regard to the above, the adopted Policy states:

 

‘The licence fee for signs, trading tables and other structures and the ‘rental’ for outdoor dining areas on Council owned/controlled land shall be based on ‘fair market value’. Determination of ‘fair market value’ will be undertaken by a Council appointed valuer and reviewed every five years, or as otherwise determined by Council. Fee and rental increases in between those five year periods are to be in accordance with the Consumer Price Index, or as otherwise determined by Council. All costs associated with the valuation are to be borne by the applicant.’

 

The purpose of including the requirement ‘shall be at the cost of the applicant’ was to allow consideration of new applications before Council had the opportunity to engage a Valuer to undertake the valuation. NCVS has determined ‘a market rental for the annual lease of footpath areas for dining purposes.’ However, it is considered that the ‘fair market value’ could also apply to other structures.

 

The current fee for an ‘A’ frame sign is $39, and $57 for a trading table, plus $20 for each additional table. There is a combined fee of $90 for a sign, trading table or footway restaurant.

 

It is considered that an ‘A’ frame sign occupies approximately 1m2 and therefore an annual fee of $110 in accordance with the NCVS ‘fair market value’ should apply. Similarly, the fee for trading tables and other structures should be calculated on a per square metre basis.

 

The current fee for ‘Using a standing vehicle or any article for the purpose of selling any article in public a public place, including mobile vans, hawkers, etc’ is $206 for a 5 year approval, plus a one off ‘Advertising and Administration fee’ of $108 and an ‘Annual Inspection’ fee of $124. There are several street vending activities, comprising mobile vans and hawkers. However, there are no permanent street vending operations, such as vegetable barrows, newspaper stands, etc, using Council’s footpaths.

 

The adopted Policy now requires a development application for street vending activities. However, it was intended that the need for a DA should only apply to street vending structures on Council’s footpaths in a commercial area. Street vending operations such as mobile vans and hawkers are dealt with under a different approval process in accordance with Section 68 of the Local Government Act. This may need to be clarified under the adopted Policy. It is considered that the current fees and charges that apply to mobile vans and hawkers are appropriate. However, the fees and charges for any proposed street vending structures on Council’s footpaths should be the same as the proposed charges for trading tables and other structures in a commercial area.

 

The proposed increased in licence fees and rental payments are generally more that the current fees and charges, but not considered unreasonable. Notwithstanding, the adopted Policy states that the licence fee for signs, trading tables and other structures and the rental for outdoor dining areas shall be based on ‘fair market value’ or as otherwise determined by Council. As such, Council can choose to not accept the NCVS valuation and set alternative fees and charges.

 

The adopted Policy also relates to Community Organisations and Charities, and Crazy Day Sales. There are no fees or charges, nor is it intended to introduce a charge for these types of operations. However, Public Liability Insurance of not less than $10 million is required, and Council is required to be noted as an interested party on the Insurance Policy.

 

 

CONSULTATION:

 

The Director Engineering Services, Manager Health & Building, and the Property Officer were consulted in the preparation of this report.


 

SUSTAINABILITY ASSESSMENT:

 

Environment

 

There are no identified environmental issues that may be affected by the proposed fees and charges relating to the adopted Policy.

 

Social

 

There are no apparent social issues if Council decides to charge a ‘fair market value’ for outdoor dining areas, signs, street vending structures, trading tables and other structures.

 

Economic

 

There will be an economic impact on some business premises for the payment of a ‘fair market value’ for outdoor dining areas, signs, street vending structures, trading tables and other structures.

 

Risk

 

There is no apparent risk if Council decides to charge a ‘fair market value’ for outdoor dining areas, signs, street vending structures, trading tables and other structures.

 

 

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS:

 

Direct and indirect impact on current and future budgets

 

There may be some positive financial implications for Council if it requires payment at market value for outdoor dining areas, street vending structures, trading tables, etc, on Council’s footpaths. The proposed charges would be more in line with a ‘user pay’ system. Any additional income could be used for street improvements.

 

Source of fund and any variance to working funds

 

No funds or variation of working funds are required.


Extract from the Revenue Policy (Fees and Charges 2009/2010) for ‘Footway Signage/Trading Tables/Chairs” and Use of a Standing Vehicle

 

(Existing) Footway Signage/Trading Tables/Chairs (Prior 31 October 2009)

 - "A" framed footway Sign - Licence

 

 - Trading Table or Footway Restaurant - Licence

$57 Licence

 Plus-each additional table or footway restaurant after 1st

$20/Table (incl GST)

 - Combined Sign(sign, trading table or footway restaurant)

$90 Licence

 Plus-each additional sign

$39/Sign

 Plus-each additional table or footway restaurant after 1st

$20/Table (incl GST)

 - Release Fee for Impounded Signage

$57/Sign

NB: registration year runs from 1 October to 30 September  of the following year.

 

Where an app'n is received: prior to 31 March- full fee applies,

 

between 1 April and 31 July- 50% of the schedule fee applies,

 

between 31 July and 30 September- the full scheduled fee applies

 

and the approval extends for the following registration year.

 

 

 

New Footway Signage/Trading Tables/Chairs from 1 November 2009

Determined by Council's Valuer

For an application to place any items or use Council's controlled footpaths (footway signage/trading tables/restaurant and chairs)

 

from 1 November 2009 under the recently adopted Nambucca Shire Council Local Approvals Policy- Use of Road Reserves and Public

 

Land for Commercial, Community and Charitable Activities. The annual lease fee for the leasing of footpath areas under this Approvals Policy shall be based on "fair market value"  with all costs associated with the determination of "fair market value" undertaken by Councils appointed valuer

 

 

Using a standing vehicle or any article for the purpose of selling any article in a public place, including mobile vans, hawkers, etc

 

 - Approval (5 Years)

$206

 - Annual Inspection

$124 (includes GST)

 - Advertising and Administration fee

$108

 

Attachments:

1View

30995/2009 - Valuation for rent based footpath leasing

 

  


General Purpose Committee - 20 January 2010

Report on the Valuation for structures on Council's footpaths under the adopted Approvals Policy

 




 


General Purpose Committee

20 January 2010

Director Environment & Planning's Report

ITEM 9.2      SF135              200110         Future of Local Government SoE Reporting

 

AUTHOR/ENQUIRIES:     Jacqui Ashby, Environmental Compliance Officer         

 

Summary:

 

A State of the Environment forum was held in Coffs Harbour on November 18 2009 by the Department of Premier and Cabinet. The meeting was set up to provide valuable information sharing and discussion on the current and future arrangements for Integrated Planning and Reporting including SOE reporting for the north coast region (NRCMA boundary). This report will only deal with SoE reporting.

 

 

Recommendation:

 

1          That the report be noted

 

2          That the next SoE report, being a comprehensive report, is now due in 2013

 

3          That there is no intermediate (supplementary) reports to be completed

 

4          That a small annual SoE report be tabulated for Council each November, from 2010–2012 to be used to ease the workload for completion of the Comprehensive SoE Report in 2013.

 

5          That the recommendations from the 2008/09 Comprehensive SoE report be adopted:

 

a        Review Development Control Plan (DCP) 4 “Subdivisions”  to include the retention of biodiversity corridors through new subdivision areas to maintain linkages for native fauna movements,

 

b        Review the Development Control Plan (DCP) 5 “Industrial Developments” to include design guidelines that will assist with attenuating noise from the Industrial areas on adjoining residential areas.

 

c        Develop a Local Policy relating to solid fuel heaters installation and use to assist with alleviating health and air quality issues in urban & rural residential areas,

 

d        Develop an education program for the shire to address the increased occurrence of dumping,

 

e        Develop brochures to educate residents of the shire on Council’s new Keeping of Animal Policy,

 

 

OPTIONS:

 

1        That a small annual report not be tabulated for Council

 

2        That some of the recommendations from the 2008/09 Comprehensive SoE report be adopted

 

3        That the recommendations from the 2008/09 Comprehensive SoE report not be adopted

 

 

DISCUSSION:

 

A forum was held on the 18 December 2009 in Coffs Harbour and chaired by Greg Watt, Project Manager Department of Premier and Cabinet. Representatives from both State and local government, state departments and water authorities convened for a meeting and teleconference with Vaughan MacDonald from Department of Local Government.

 

The meeting was called due to:

 

1          recent changes under the new Integrated Planning & Reporting (IPR) framework for NSW local government;

2          potentially outdated SoE indicators;

3          desire to adopt regional SoE reporting;

4          desire to rationalise SoE reporting across local, state and federal levels.

 

Vaughan MacDonald provided a presentation on the Local Government Amendment (Planning & Reporting) Act 2009 detailing changes under the IPR framework. The following participant discussion sought to clarify a number of issues including, timeframe of IPR framework implementation, implications for SoE reporting, selection of indicators and the relationship with other state & federal environment reporting mechanisms.

 

The following points are from Vaughan MacDonald’s presentation Integrated Planning & Reporting for Local Government in NSW

 

The IPR Act requires councils to have a:

 

§   Community Strategic Plan

§   Long-term Resourcing Strategy

§   4 year Delivery Program

§   Annual Operational Plan

§   Annual report

§   End of term report and SoE report

 

The guidelines and manual states:

 

§   The Guidelines contain the essential elements of the legislation – no essential elements for SoE Reports

§   The Manual provides information to assist councils to implement the new framework-includes information and examples on how councils may prepare their SoE Report

 

SoE Reporting:

 

§   SoE Report every 4 years - due 30 November following an election.

§   SoE Report must:

Ř  Establish relevant environmental indicators for environmental objectives

Ř  Report on and update trends for indicators

Ř  Identify all major environmental impacts

 

SoE Reporting Key Messages:

 

§   SoE Reports can be prepared on a regional or catchment basis

§   SoE Reporting needs to inform environmental planning

§   Regional and/or catchment based SoE Reporting is encouraged

§   Current regional SoE reporting examples

§   Use the flexibility of these reforms to make SoE reporting relevant to your community’s needs

 

Geoff Hudson from LGSA provided additional comments via teleconferencing that the LGSA supported the concept of regional reporting and strongly urge Councils and CMA’s to work together in this area. There was some clarification needed for the relationship between annual environmental reporting (in the annual report) and the 4 yearly comprehensive SoE report. As well as how these Council SoE’s relate to the regional Sate of the Catchment Reports and the NSW SoE report. It is noted the LGSA recently developed some guidelines on Integrating NRM into Local Government Operations that include environmental monitoring and reporting (especially SoE reporting). Available www.lgsa.org.au/NRM.

 

Thor Aaso from Port Macquarie Hastings Council outlined the current SoE process and noted the short comings of and the need to review current indicators, the mixed nature of agency information, and highlighted the benefits of considering environmental health to drive reporting rather than measuring pollution indicators alone.

 

A round-table general discussion was initiated with the main discussion centring on a regional approach to planning and SoE reporting, need for consistent and appropriate indicators, desire to rationalise SoE reporting and the establishment of a working group.

 

The final recommendation was that each Local Government and relevant state agency, identify a ‘champion’ to represent them and participate in a working group to progress the development of common and appropriate indicators that are suitable for regionally based SoE reporting.

 

The next meeting is scheduled for early February 2010.

 

The following recommendations have come from the 2008/09 Comprehensive SoE:

 

1          Industrial zoning inside the Macksville Industrial site to alleviate noise impacts on neighbouring residential areas. The placing of heavy industry in the core with lighter industry along the industrial/residential interface. A current review of the industrial development DCP into the combined DCP will assess the recommendations of the Heggies Acoustical Report for industrial development. No funding will be needed for this.

 

2          Biodiversity corridors are important linkages through a region in which fauna can travel and be protected. There needs to be more vegetation remnants developed throughout the shire to ensure the survival of our native fauna. Development constraints on land clearing on new subdivisions needs to be highlighted and enforced. Grant funding is needed to help establish remnants, rehabilitate existing remnants and riparian zones and restore degraded areas.

 

3          Woodfire heaters create a health issue in the urban areas of the shire, many of the existing wood fire heaters are not compliant with the Australian Standard. A wood fire heater policy is needed to alleviate the heath and pollution problems caused by existing wood fire heaters in the shire, this policy should be written inline with state legislation and other Council’s current policies. No funding will be needed for this.

 

4          Illegal waste dumping is becoming more common in both protected areas and on Council land. An education program needs to be developed to educate the community about dumping. Several successful projects already running throughout the state are “Dumping its Dumb’ and “Not in My Backyard”. Funding for these programs could come out of the Environmental Levy and there maybe a grant focused on illegal dumping.

 

5          Keeping of Animals policy needs to be highlighted with an education campaign to educate the shires community of responsible animal keeping in urban and rural residential areas. The funding for this can come from the Environmental Levy.

 

 

CONSULTATION:

 

Department of Premier and Cabinet

DLG

LGSA

NRCMA

DECCW

NSW Food Authority

NSW I&I

NCAHS – Public Health

Representatives from 14 Local Councils within the North Coast Region

DEP

MHB


SUSTAINABILITY ASSESSMENT:

 

Environment

 

These recommendations will enhance the physical and biophysical environment for both native fauna and flora and the human occupation of the Shire.

 

Social

 

Several of these recommendations will explore the social aspects of the community and endeavour to enhance the social expectations of the community.

 

Economic

 

Efficiently working policies and education programs will help make the shire more appealing to potential investment and migration.

 

Risk

 

There will be a low risk

 

 

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS:

 

Direct and indirect impact on current and future budgets

 

Nil to current budgets although for preparation of the 2013 SoE a SoE budget should be set aside depending on what direction SoE reporting takes, as in either internal or regional.

 

Several recommendations from the 2008/09 SoE will have a direct impact on future budgets concerning the environmental levy.

 

Source of fund and any variance to working funds

 

Environmental Levy and a potential for small grants.

 

Attachments:

There are no attachments for this report.


General Purpose Committee

20 January 2010

Director Environment & Planning's Report

ITEM 9.3      SF688              200110         Consolidated 2009/2010 Environmental Levy Program and Draft 2010/2012 (2 Year) Environmental Levy

 

AUTHOR/ENQUIRIES:     Greg Meyers, Director Environment and Planning         

 

Summary:

 

When setting the 2009/2010 Budget the Environmental Levy program had a number of projects that were continuing and levy allocations to funding applications submitted but not yet determined.

 

This report now consolidates the 2009/2010 Environmental Levy Program and includes all continuing programs and those projects that have recently received funding.

 

The continuation of the Environmental Levy beyond 30 June 2010 is also addressed in this report.

 

The current 5 year Environmental Levy concludes on 30 June 2010 and Council had previously resolved to consider the extension of the Levy to assist I the completion of Environmental and related programs and projects some of which are continuing and others being new projects.

 

Following advice from the Department of Local Government, Council's timeframe for the consideration of the Environmental levy has had to be brought forward a month to meet the DLG timeframes for rate variations.

 

It is proposed to request that the Levy be an ongoing variation with an initial program for a further 2 years then permanent incorporation into the Strategic Community Plan which Council is now working towards in accordance with the DLG requirements.

 

The consolidation of the 2009/2010 Environmental Levy program and the Draft 2 year Environmental levy program are attached for Council's for consideration.

 

 

Recommendation:

 

1          That council note and endorse the consolidated 2009/2010 Environmental Levy Program

 

2          That Council review the attached Draft 2010 – 2012 Environmental Levy Program.

 

3          That Council incorporate projects from the bottom half of the draft program to approximately match the expected income through the Levy.

 

4          That subject to recommendation 3 above, Council adopt the amended Draft 2010 – 2012 Environmental Levy for exhibition purposes and/or submission to the Department of Local Government for rate variation as required.

 

 

OPTIONS:

 

Council could chose not to proceed with any future Environmental Levy and only proceed with the current program until the projects are completed and all future environmental management and improvement works would utilise General Funds and any successful grant funds that may come available.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DISCUSSION:

 

Consolidate 2009/2010 Environmental Levy

 

Nambucca Shire first implemented an Environmental levy in the 2003/2004 budget after first obtaining Ministerial consent for a rate variation. This initial Levy generated approximately $200,000 income which assisted Council in progressing a number of Environmental management projects.

 

Council resolved to seek a continuation of the Levy for a further 5 years in the 2005/2006 budget generating approximately $245,000 in 05/06 increasing to an estimated $307,000 in this current budget year. The Minster for Local Government subsequently approved the 5 year extension.

 

Approximately $1.46million dollars has been raised through the Levy since its initial introduction in the 2003.2004 budget year. With the inclusion of the most recent successful grant applications, Council has been able to gain a further $950,000 in external funds which equates to an extra 65 cents for every rate dollar raised through the levy which was always Council's intention. For Nambucca Shire Council which is heavily reliant on income through rates this result is a very positive one for Council and its ratepayers.

 

It should also be noted that Council has also been able to stretch the Levy dollar further through the cooperative projects that have been and continue to be undertaken such as the boat tie up facilities and sandy beach at Macksville which includes NSW Waterways and the Nambucca River Users Group, the Newee Creek river reach program – Newcastle University and Landcare, River bank restoration and weed eradication projects – Nyambaga Aboriginal Green Team, Landcare and DECC to list a few.

 

Whilst the funds from the Levy have contributed to a number of Studies and Plans there have been some notable projects completed utilising the Environmental Levy and matching external funds such as the Stuart Island causeway in Nambucca Heads, river bank restoration work along River Street and Ferry Streets in Macksville, the sandy beach and floating pontoon in Macksville, the Finger Wharf in Nambucca Heads, Gumma Gumma Creek Floodgates bank restoration Warrell Creek down stream of Bolten's Crossing.

 

The various Studies which have or are nearing completion have identified a range of physical works or continuing programs and the continuation of the Environmental Levy will assist with funding applications and the completion of these works.

 

The attached consolidated 2009/2010 Environmental Levy Program clearly identifies the wide range of projects currently underway. Whilst every attempt is currently being made to complete the majority of the identified projects, it will not be humanly possible to have them all completed by 30 June 2010 and some of these projects will need to be revoted over to 2010/2011.

 

Future of Environmental Levy

 

Council had resolved that before finally determining to continue with the Environmental Levy it would seek submissions from the community on possible future projects/programs. Several public notices were issued to this effect inviting submissions with a number of submissions being made, see attached.

 

In addition, an information pamphlet was prepared on the exhibition of the new Draft Local Environmental Plan (LEP) and the Environmental Levy and was mailed to every rateable property owner in the shire. Council also engaged Jetty Research to undertake a community telephone survey in regard to the Environmental Levy and its possible continuation and also sought the communities views on the effects of Climate Change and the role that Council should take.

 

Both the individual submissions and the results of the survey have been used in preparing the Draft 2010 – 2012 Environmental Levy.

 

It was originally intended to present a report on the future Environmental levy and the engagement of a part time Natural Resource Officer to Council in February 2010, however, following advice from the Department of Local Government, Council's timeframe for the consideration of the Environmental Levy has had to be brought forward a month to meet the DLG timeframes for rate variations.

 

It is proposed to request that the Environmental Levy be for a further 2 years and then a permanent incorporation into the Strategic Community Plan which Council is now working towards in accordance with the DLG requirements which has to be completed for the 2012/2013 reporting year.

 

The attached Draft 2 year Environmental Levy program has been established with regard to the continuing Flooding, Coastal and Estuary programs where Council has agreed to submit funding applications as well as other ongoing or recurring costs which are identified in the shaded section (top half) whilst the unshaded items (bottom half) are those projects/programs from submissions received following Public Notices calling for suggestions and the 6 specific areas identified in the Community Survey questions conducted late last year, (NB: the additional suggested projects/programs in Q.19 of the survey results have not been individually incorporated as they fall under other activities, programs, outside Council's responsibilities or fall outside the intent of the Environmental Levy, but are worthy of noting and are attached for Council's reference). The items in the bottom half have been placed in a priority order aligned to need, ability to gain matching funding or outcome benefit. These priorities may very well be viewed differently by other individuals or community groups.

 

The challenge for Council is to utilise its income from the Levy to maximise external funding. To assist, I have marked with an asterix those projects where funding may be sought on a $ for $ or better basis.

 

 

CONSULTATION:

 

The community through the Public Notices and Survey.

General Manager

Manager Financial Services

Director Engineering Services

 

 

SUSTAINABILITY ASSESSMENT:

 

Environment

 

The establishment of the Environmental Levy has assisted Council with a number of direct Environmental Works and/or Studies for sound environmental management and improvement

 

Social

 

The Levy and use of the funds and external grant funds have provided significant community and social benefits to the community

 

Economic

 

The Levy has assisted Council to achieve positive outcomes for the whole community without impacting on the General Fund

 

Risk

 

Many of the environmental projects have addressed a number of risks that have arose. The studies and Management plans identify and address a range of environmental and liability risk

 

 


FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS:

 

Direct and indirect impact on current and future budgets

 

The funds generated through the Environmental Levy have been used to generate additional external grants which have been brought into Council's budgets

 

Source of fund and any variance to working funds

 

Not applicable if the Levy continues. However should Council not continue it would need to curtail a range of projects as General Funds would need to be utilised.

 

Attachments:

1View

699/2010 - Consolidated 2009/2010 Environmental Levy Program

 

2View

717/2010 - Draft Environmental Levy 2010/2012

 

3View

658/2010 - Submissions and Q19 from Environmental Survey

 

  


General Purpose Committee - 20 January 2010

Consolidated 2009/2010 Environmental Levy Program and Draft 2010/2012 (2 Year) Environmental Levy

 

 


General Purpose Committee - 20 January 2010

Consolidated 2009/2010 Environmental Levy Program and Draft 2010/2012 (2 Year) Environmental Levy

 


 


General Purpose Committee - 20 January 2010

Consolidated 2009/2010 Environmental Levy Program and Draft 2010/2012 (2 Year) Environmental Levy

 

  


General Purpose Committee

20 January 2010

Director of Engineering Services Report

ITEM 10.1    SF1451            200110         Backflow Prevention Policy

 

AUTHOR/ENQUIRIES:     Richard Spain, Manager Water and Sewerage         

 

Summary:

 

Council, as the local water authority has a responsibility to supply consumers with water that complies with the requirements of the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.

 

Potential contamination from pollutants that may be generated within a property serviced by the reticulated water supply is an acknowledged risk to water quality.

 

Both the Australian/New Zealand Standard for plumbing and drainage Part 1: Water services (AS/NZS 3500.1) and the NSW Plumbing Code of Practice stipulate that backflow prevention devices shall be fitted to all properties connected to Council’s reticulated water supply in order to mitigate this risk.

 

It is proposed to introduce a Backflow Prevention Policy in order to detail the way in which Council will manage and administer compliance with the plumbing codes and best practice management guidelines.  Copies of the draft policy have been previously provided to Councillors.

 

 

Recommendation:

 

That Council:

 

1          Place the draft Backflow Prevention Policy on public exhibition for a minimum period of 28 days.

 

2          Adopt the Backflow Prevention Policy following completion of the exhibition period subject to there being no submissions warranting amendments to the policy document.

 

 

 

OPTIONS:

 

No alternative option is offered as the implementation of a Backflow Prevention Policy is considered necessary for Council to meet it obligation to operate a safe and reliable water supply system.

 

 

DISCUSSION:

 

All plumbing works must be carried out in accordance with AS/NZS 3500.1 and the NSW Plumbing Code of Practice and both of these documents stipulate that backflow prevention devices shall be fitted to all properties connected to a reticulated water supply.

 

Council, as the local water authority, is responsible for ensuring compliance with the plumbing standards in order to mitigate any risk to the water quality supplied to consumers.  The introduction of a Backflow Prevention Policy is proposed to detail the way in which Council will manage and administer compliance with the plumbing codes and best practice management guidelines.  It provides a clear outline of the responsibilities of both property owners and plumbers in relation to complying with the relevant standards.

 

The policy is mainly relevant to commercial properties and the owners of these properties are responsible for ensuring that the backflow prevention device fitted to the water service is appropriate for the hazard rating of the property. Testable devices are required for properties rated as medium or high hazard as defined in AS 3500.

 

In instances where a testable device is required the property owner must ensure that it has a current certification.  The testable backflow prevention devices must be inspected and tested by a licensed plumber on an annual basis.  This may take 1 to 2 hours depending on the type of installation and the plumber would charge a fee in the order of $150.00.

 

Backflow prevention devices must be installed and certified by a licenced plumber.  The backflow prevention device is fitted at no cost to Council

 

In general residential properties will be unaffected by the policy as the water meters that are installed by Council are fitted with internal backflow prevention devices that are not required to be tested. However properties with rainwater tanks must ensure that there internal plumbing complies with the code and that there is no risk of cross connection with the potable supply.  This would be checked by a Building Inspector at the time of installation.

 

Council will be required to audit existing properties to ensure that they are complying with the current plumbing codes and best practices.  As with the implementation of the liquid trade waste policy it is proposed that these initial audits be completed at no cost to the property owner.  However in instances where there is a non-compliance the property owner shall be responsible for ensuring that the required backflow device is installed to meet current standards.

 

A fee would be charged for re-inspections required in instances where property owners have not provided certification from a licenced plumber to confirm that they have installed the appropriate backflow prevention device within a reasonable time frame. This fee would be similar to the trade waste inspection fee which is currently $114.00.

 

Council may also consider charging a nominal annual fee in the order of $70.00 to cover the administration costs incurred in ensuring that property owners are complying with the plumbing codes and that current compliance certificates are forwarded to Council.

 

 

CONSULTATION:

 

Sydney Water

Department of Environment Climate Change & Water

 

 

SUSTAINABILITY ASSESSMENT:

 

Environment

 

The implementation of the policy will have no environmental impact.

 

Social

 

The implementation of the policy will better protect public health by reducing the risk of illness caused by drinking from a water supply that may be contaminated by pollutants generated within a property serviced by the same supply.

 

Economic

 

The implementation of the policy will impose costs on the following:

 

·              Existing properties that have non complying installations as the owner will have to cover the installation or upgrade costs

 

·              Properties requiring testable devices as the owner will incur an annual cost to have the installation tested and certified by a licenced plumber.

 


Risk

 

The implementation of the policy will assist Council in managing the risk of contamination of the water supply from pollutants that may be generated within a property service by the reticulated water supply.

 

 

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS:

 

Direct and indirect impact on current and future budgets

 

There is no direct or indirect impact on current and future budgets.  The fees proposed to be imposed for inspections and administration should cover the time.

 

 

Source of fund and any variance to working funds

 

No funding is required.

 

 

 

 

 

Attachments:

There are no attachments for this report.