NAMBUCCA SHIRE COUNCIL

 

 

ORDINARY COUNCIL MEETING - 16 JUNE 2016

 

LATE AGENDA                                                                                        Page

 

 

 

   

10      Assistant General Manager Corporate Services Report

10.6   Late Report - Final Submissions  - Addendum to Draft Integrated Planning and Reporting Documents Report............................................................................................................................. 2    


       


Ordinary Council Meeting                                                                                                    16 June 2016

Assistant General Manager Corporate Services Report

ITEM 10.6    SF2130            160616         Late Report - Final Submissions  - Addendum to Draft Integrated Planning and Reporting Documents Report

 

AUTHOR/ENQUIRIES:    Scott Norman, Assistant General Manager Corporate Services; Craig Doolan, Manager Financial Services         

 

Summary:

 

This report is an addendum to another report that was written while the draft 2016-2017 Operational Plan (Budget), draft 2016-17 Revenue Policy (Fees and Charges) and draft 2016-2026 Long Term Financial Plan (LTFP) were on public exhibition. 

 

The exhibition period ended Wednesday 15 June and three external submissions have been received all relating to Environmental Levy Budget.  These have been attached to this report.  If Council wishes to have more time to consider these submissions they have until the 30 June 2016 to adopted the Integrated Planning and Reporting Documents.  Council has a meeting scheduled for that day.  The report formally making the Rates based on the revenue forecasts in the operational plan will also be presented to that meeting.

 

This report also lists additional internal submissions received to date which consists of changes, corrections and additions made by officers.

 

General Fund

The budget cash position in General Fund in the draft documents was a deficit $113,400.

 

After the proposed changes in the first report to this meeting the General Fund has a budgeted cash position of surplus $16,200.

 

After the proposed changes in the this report to this meeting the General Fund has a budgeted cash position of surplus $13,800

 

Water Fund

After the proposed changes the Water Fund has a budgeted cash position of surplus $37,400.

 

Sewerage Fund

After the proposed changes the Sewerage Fund has a budgeted cash position of surplus $7,700.

 

 

The Draft Documents (as amended) are available in the Reference Section of Councillor iPads.

 

 

Recommendation:

 

That Council adopt the following documents as amended:

 

1.               The Draft Operational Plan 2016-17

2.               The Draft Revenue Policy 2016-17

3.               The Draft Long Term Financial Plan 2016-2026.

 

 

 

OPTIONS:

 

Council can amend the documents as it sees fit.  Council is required to have adopted Integrated Planning and Reporting Documents by the 30 June 2016.  Council has a meeting scheduled for that day.

 

All external submissions relate to the Environmental Levy, the Environmental Levy budget is part of the Operational Plan budget (General Fund).  It would be possible to adopt the Operational Plan and review the Environmental Fund Budget at a later date.

 

 

DISCUSSION:

 

Changes to Draft Operational Plan 2016-17 (Budget)

 

Draft 16/17 Budget Submissions  Already reported to Council in Previous Report

 

Item

Summary

AMOUNT $

Computer Equipment (W1046)

Merit/Reflect Integration b/f to 15/16

5,000

Saving

Plant Purchases

Mayor vehicle replacement deferred

16,000

Saving

Members Fees & Mayoral Allowance

LG Remuneration tribunal 0.5% above draft budget

400

Shortfall

T/fer from RFS Relocation Reserve

Fire season quiet, reserve to subsidise deficit

70.000

Saving

OSSM Change of Owner Fee

Deleted from Fees and Charges

10,000

Shortfall

 

 

 

 

Roads to Recovery

$703,000 funding and expenditure yet to be allocated

 

 

 

Will be applied to Scott’s Head Road to be finalised

 

 

Site Plan Valla Development

$70,000 not allocated with funding from grant and/or reserves $55,000 grant funding approved.

 

 

Tourism Coordinator Resourcing

Travel and relief not shown

3,700

Shortfall

Macksville Library

Internal dividing wall to create additional work space

8,100

Shortfall

Shared Ranger Services

Additional Ranger shared with Bellingen -costed at $17,500 net revised to $31,900

14,400

Shortfall

Internal Loan to Land Development

Land Development fund repayments to General Fund for VUGA not previously recognised

71,200

Saving

Water and Sewerage Charges

Pricing variations. Completion of Best Practice Pricing calculations

 

 

Overhead Interest on Investment

Reconciliation and distribution

5,000

Saving

EPA Waste Levy

Price increase to $78.20

1,000

Shortfall

 

 

Draft 16/17 Additional Budget Submissions  - Water Fund

Item

Summary

AMOUNT $

Sewerage Pressure System

South Nambucca - Addition $55,000 project management of the construction phase

Funded from Reserves

Trade Waste Charges

Projected income understated in the draft budget

2,100

Saving

 

 

CONSULTATION:

 

The draft documents have been on public display for public comment until 15 June 2016.

Council Officers with budget responsibility have all contributed.

 

 

SUSTAINABILITY ASSESSMENT:

 

Environment

 

Reported in previous report - All external submission relate to The Environmental Levy.

 

Social

 

Reported in previous report.

 

Economic

 

Reported in previous report.

 

Risk

 

Reported in previous report

 

 

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS:

 

Direct and indirect impact on current and future budgets

 

Intrinsic to these documents

 

Source of fund and any variance to working funds

 

All Funds have sufficient cash to meet the liquid equity levels mandated by Council policy.

 

Service level changes and resourcing/staff implications

 

The only proposed service level changes relates to the Community Projects position which is no longer receiving funding.

 

 

Attachments:

1

20641/2016 - NVCA Submission on draft 2016-17 EL Program

 

2

20647/2016 - Dr Peter Soby -Submission-NSC-EnvironmentalLevy

 

3

19398/2016 - Application for 2016 Environmental Levy Program - Transition Nambucca Valley

 

  


Ordinary Council Meeting - 16 June 2016

Late Report - Final Submissions  - Addendum to Draft Integrated Planning and Reporting Documents Report

 

Wednesday 15 June 2016

Michael Coulter,                                                                                                               General Manager,                                                                                                       Nambucca Shire Council,                                                                                            Princess Street, MACKSVILLE  NSW 2447

Dear Mr Coulter                                                                                                                   

Re: Submission on the draft 2016-17 Environment Levy (EL) Program

The Nambucca Valley Conservation Association (NVCA) would like to make the following comments and suggestions regarding the annual Environment Levy (EL) Program and also to comment on the existing environment projects reported upon as part of the advertised Environment Levy program information.

1       Water quality and river health monitoring

The NVCA agrees that this spending is appropriate.  However, greater reporting of monitoring results and any actions taken to address identified threats to water quality and/or water pollution incidents should be provided, as part of reporting back to the community on EL spending.  We note that the report states the budget for this program has been reduced from $10,000 (2015/16) to $5,000 (2016/17);  however the line item (W1111) in the draft 2016/17 Operational Plan (budget) does not reflect this, and shows $10,000 for water quality and river health monitoring.  If this is an error resulting in a $5,000 surplus in the EL total budget, NVCA recommends that the surplus be allocated to the Climate Change Adaptations Projects allocation, to bring that total to $25,000.

2       Project Officer’s supervisory vehicle

This allocation is supported.  However, NVCA notes that Council failed to engage a Natural Resources Officer, despite having resolved to do so.  NVCA is in no way criticising the existing staff members who undertake various tasks relating to the EL budget.  However our Association saw Council’s resolution to fund a part-time Natural Resources Officer as a commitment to increase natural resource management hours and outputs, by engaging a qualified Natural Resources Officer whose focus on the EL program would effectively expand and strengthen Council’s EL program activities, and support existing staff working on aspects of the EL program.  Instead, Council re-defined and re-named existing positions within the organisation and ‘absorbed’ the allocated EL Natural Resources Officer funding.  This disappointing 'smoke and mirrors' exercise means that an opportunity to increase environmental improvements and rehabilitation has been wasted.  Also full transparency as to EL spending in particular in terms of existing staff wages is difficult, if not impossible, to achieve.  Once again, NVCA recommends that Council engage a part-time Natural Resources Officer to augment existing arrangements and strengthen Council’s environmental management.

3       Control of noxious weeds

Noxious weeds flourish in degraded landscapes.  NVCA does not support the use of chemical weed control such as glyphosates and in particular, strongly objects to such activities being funded from the EL budget.  Use of herbicides not only negatively impacts directly and indirectly on whole ecosystems, it lays the ground bare and vulnerable, for germination of the next generation of weeds.  NVCA advocates for greater use of mechanical and manual removal and/or control of noxious weeds, with a focus on site rehabilitation to prevent further infestations.  Such an approach requires a long term strategy and systematic approach to weed management.  We are often told that such management practices are too expensive;  however NVCA recommends that any additional costs to engage a more environmentally responsible and sustainable approach could be appropriately funded from the EL budget.

No breakdown of the $66,200 EL weed management allocation is offered.  We hereby ask:  What proportion of this budget is spent on chemicals, chemical application and staff wages?  NVCA requests that it receive a response to this question in writing.

The Operational Plan shows Council’s total weed management budget to be $150,000 (W1192), $66,000 (44%) of which is coming from the EL. The Operational Plan also shows (W2136) ‘Environmental weeds’ $10,000 coming from the EL, but no such amount is shown on the advertised EL program list of projects.  This apparent anomaly requires clarification.

 NVCA asks:  What plants are considered ‘environmental weeds’ in this context?

A total of $77,200 of EL is proposed for expenditure on weed management.  This is a significant amount, and is $5,000 more than last year.  NVCA respectfully requests a breakdown of how this EL allocation was spent last year and what environmental benefits have been achieved.  NVCA recommends that the proposed $5,000 increase for line item W1192 be removed, and instead allocated to the Climate Change Adaptation program.

4       Servicing of 'doggy bags'

Dog faeces is more of a problem for people than the environment.  $5,000 seems an excessive amount for plastics bags.  Servicing the bins could be done by the ranger or work crews as and when they pass each dispenser, at minimum cost.  The NVCA believes service of 'doggy bags' should be funded from animal registration revenue. 

5       Heritage grants

Once again, this Association wishes to voice our strongest objection to the use of public funds on private property.  The NVCA sees this as a blatant misuse of EL money which has no demonstrable environmental benefit.  The NVCA urges Council to cease using EL funds for such inappropriate projects, and instead allocate EL funds to a project which has a clear measurable benefit to the natural environment.  NVCA recommends this this $7,500 be allocated instead to the Climate Change Adaptation program.

6       Environmental Management Fund

The NVCA questions why such an allocation is necessary, if projects are properly planned and funded.  Unexpected costs may occur from time to time, but $10,000 is excessive.  Using this allocation for ‘heritage search fees’ is unacceptable.  NVCA recommends this allocation be reduced to $5,000 with the balance being allocated to the Climate Change Adaptation program. 

7       Prepare/review/implement concept plans for CBD streetscape improvements

NVCA supports the stated purpose of this project.  However we believe the proposed $10,000 for the care and maintenance of the street trees and planter boxes in Bowra Street is excessive.  Plantings should consist of native species preferably endemic to this area.  As such, these plantings will not only add to the aesthetics of the locale, providing shade and softening urban streetscapes, but they will also provide habitat for native fauna.  NVCA recommends $5,000 be allocated to this project with $5,000 being re-directed to the Climate Change Adaptation program.

8       Boating now Gordon Park

NVCA seeks assurance that EL funds will not be spent on concrete infrastructure, boat ramps, treated pine and the like.  We have no issues with $15,000 being allocated to this project, provided it can be demonstrated that it will be spent of environmental protection or rehabilitation or landscaping with indigenous native species.

9       Macksville Streetscape revitalisation

NVCA supports the use of EL money for the supply and installation of (native) street trees for Macksville as part of the revitalisation project as proposed.  We re-emphasise that we do not support the use of EL funds for infrastructure which does not demonstrate an environmental benefit ie concrete.

NVCA recommends the use of the rare Nambucca Ringwood Syzygium anisatum which makes an attractive street tree with aniseed fragrant foliage.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syzygium_anisatum

This beautiful tree is not only rare but it is only known to occur in the Nambucca and some parts of the Bellinger catchment, and is therefore a local treasure that would give Macksville something unique to be proud of.  The ringwood can grow up to 45m in its natural rainforest setting, but like most rainforest trees, when grown in gardens or as street trees it does not nearly achieve such heights.

10     Investigate / Implement environmental improvements at Bowraville.

We support this proposal in principle and urge Council to direct this allocation to much needed riverbank stabilisation and rehabilitation with local native species. 

 

11     General comments

We would like to commend Council for committing to an annual environment levy allocation for much needed climate change adaptations projects.  Installation of solar panels on Council’s buildings, especially the administrative building, libraries, works depot and sewerage treatment plants, are important;  also working with S355 Committees, to assist in installation of solar panels on community halls, is important for reducing emissions and energy costs.  NVCA is keen to see Council pursue the idea of a floating solar power farm installed on the Bowra dam, to reduce pumping costs, emissions, thermal heating of the dam water and evaporation from the dam surface.  Although such a venture would be expensive up front, there are funding opportunities for innovative renewable energy projects.  Such a project could put the Nambucca Valley on the national map.

NVCA recommends that when future EL draft budgets are advertised for public comment, that the previous year’s allocation, be included in the figures, so as to allow consideration of changes to allocations. 

We hope our comments and recommendations will be given careful consideration, and respectfully ask that Council provide answers to the various questions contained in this submission.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide comment on the expenditure of the Environment Levy budget.

Yours sincerely

 

Georgette Allen,                                                                                                              President, NVCA

 


Ordinary Council Meeting - 16 June 2016

Late Report - Final Submissions  - Addendum to Draft Integrated Planning and Reporting Documents Report

 



Ordinary Council Meeting - 16 June 2016

Late Report - Final Submissions  - Addendum to Draft Integrated Planning and Reporting Documents Report