2024/25 Temora Shire Budget Introduction

Published on 22 May 2024


2024/25 Temora Shire Budget Introduction

Temora Shire Council has compiled its draft, 10 year budget which shows an overall surplus after capital of $117,616 in 2024/25, with an operating deficit of $740,430.  Mayor Rick Firman said “Council has a proud history of producing responsible budgets and building its reserve funds.  However, Council continues to find itself in challenging financial circumstances given the various impacts on rural and regional communities.  Many Local Government areas across New South Wales are experiencing extreme budgetary pressures with limited opportunity to raise revenue.  Councils are constrained by rate pegging, which has been set for Temora Shire at 4.5% this year, which falls well short of the cost increases Council is experiencing.  The additional income from rates is insufficient to cover the increases in expenses such as wages, fuel, materials, and insurance.  Due to the limitations on raising additional income Council will continue to monitor its expenditure very closely.” 

Mayor Firman added “While Temora Shire Council prides itself on providing a high level of service to our citizens, Council must continually review each of its functions in terms of level of service.  Over the years Council has reviewed the Aerodrome precinct, Pinnacle Community Services, and waste services, among others, and more recently sporting grounds, parks and gardens.  Council will continue to review service level delivery for possible savings or opportunities to raise additional revenue which is deemed reasonable.  This is a time when we need the support of our shire community to understand the impact of our challenging budgetary situation and decisions that may be made consequently.”

“Even though the current economic climate makes surplus budgets almost impossible to achieve, Temora Shire Council remains strongly committed to working towards surpluses and building the balance of its cash reserves, and with the community’s help, we will achieve this.  Council believes this is the responsible approach to be taking.” Mayor Firman said. 

“I extend my warm appreciation to my fellow Councillors, the General Manager (Ms Melissa Boxall) and all staff involved with preparing the budget”, Mayor Firman said. “This is a detailed and in-depth process and frankly, not an easy job, but one in which Council invest a great deal of time and consideration in preparing.”

“Council are extremely proud to be proposing a $18.8 million capital works programme”, Mayor Firman said.  “While Council are committed to ensuring we build on our cash reserves, we also aim to deliver a reasonable capital improvement component in the budget”, he said.

The Mayor heaped praise on Director of Administration & Finance, Mrs Elizabeth Smith for her leadership with budget preparation.  “Council particularly wishes to acknowledge the Director, Mrs Smith, for her outstanding efforts in preparing our budget papers.  Mrs Smith and her team do a great job. Councillors and I are extremely grateful to them”, Mayor Firman said.

Mrs Smith said, “At our recent budget workshop, Council made several cuts to the operating budget.  However, despite these efforts, Council is still forecasting an operating deficit for 2024/25.  The primary reasons for the deficit are the inability to raise rating income above the rate peg set by the Independent Pricing & Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) in conjunction with the cost of materials and services rising disproportionately, as well as increasing depreciation expense. 

Council is also limited in its ability to generate alternate funding streams.  In reviewing the fees and charges for 2024/25 Council adopted an increase of 5% as a small step towards addressing the revenue issues being faced by Council.

There are always competing priorities which make the budget process difficult.  Recent grant programs have provided funding for significant upgrades to Council’s recreational assets such as the swimming pool, sporting grounds and parks and gardens.  While there are several projects in this area over coming years, Council’s primary focus going forward will be on roads and stormwater drainage assets.  

Council’s contribution to the Emergency Services Levy (ESL) continues to put pressure on the budget.  Council has budgeted a contribution for 2024/25 of $438,803, however official advice of the amount payable has not been received.

In recent years Council has received an extraordinary level of funding for capital projects which has enabled Council to expedite the upgrade or renewal of many facilities in our Shire.  Council is extremely grateful to the State and Federal Members in Steph Cooke and Michael McCormack for this funding, however Council continues to be squeezed financially to fund operations, when rising costs are often out of our control and Council’s ability to increase revenues is limited”.

“Sewer charges are set to increase by 5% in 2024/25 as will domestic waste charges in line with previous years’ increases” Mrs Smith concluded.

Council’s operational budget includes $34.7m expenditure, $26.8m excluding depreciation.

2024/25 is set to be another very busy year for Council with several exciting projects scheduled to be delivered in the $18.8m capital works program.  Major items include:

  • $8.26 million to be spent on roads.  This includes $2.2 million for the reconstruction of 3.65km of Howards Road, an extensive resealing and re-sheeting of rural and urban roads and further upgrades to Mary Gilmore Way.  Much of this ($7.97 million) will be funded by grant funding from both State & Federal Governments.
  • $1.8 million will be spent on improvements to Stormwater Drainage infrastructure.
  • $1.4 million will be spent on the expansion of the Airpark Estate.
  • Subject to grant funding $4.37 million will be spent on construction of the Ambulance Museum.

“Council is very pleased that both our Federal and State Governments are holding their respective inquiries into Local Government financial sustainability.  This is the number one issue for all of rural and regional NSW Councils, which is evidenced via our recent NSW Country Mayors Association survey.  We have 89 members and this ranked easily as the primary area of concern for us all.  We also note that most rural and regional Councils have done or are currently going through the extensive Special Rate Variation application process.  We can no longer continue on the same track we’re on, in financial terms.  Having said that, many are worse off than Temora Shire.” Said Mayor Firman.

The Budget is now on public exhibition for 28 days.  “The Temora Shire community are encouraged to review the budget and are welcome to make a submission, which will be discussed by Councillors at the June Council meeting, where the budget will be considered for final adoption”, Mayor Firman concluded.

Draft Budget on exhibition.