Option 2: Maintain Services – Increase Rates

7.7% average residential rate increase each year (including 3% rate cap)
9.9% average business rate increase each year (including 3% rate cap)

This option will see Council services stay largely the same as they are now, with minimal improvements or upgrades. However, the increase in income will not be enough to maintain the condition of all our City assets and infrastructure, and the quality of our roads will continue to decline, then hold in the 'good' range.


7.7% average residential rate increase each year (including 3% rate cap)
9.9% average business rate increase each year (including 3% rate cap)

This option will see Council services stay largely the same as they are now, with minimal improvements or upgrades. However, the increase in income will not be enough to maintain the condition of all our City assets and infrastructure, and the quality of our roads will continue to decline, then hold in the 'good' range.

Funding maintained for maintenance of our City's assets and infrastructure

Under this option, the maintenance of the City's infrastructure will continue to be funded at current levels for the next 3 years.

In 2015/16 the annual maintenance program will increase by approximately $1.5M per year until 2018/19. This will add a total of $6M to infrastructure maintenance over the next 7 years. This increased spending will only keep pace with inflation and an increase in the number of assets we have to maintain. Requests for footpath repairs, road patching, weed removal, plumbing repairs, and signage replacement can continue to be responded to in a timely manner.

Road condition declines

Option 2 does not provide funds to stop the declining quality of our roads. Although an additional $16M will be allocated over 7 years, this funding will only keep pace with rising cost increases. This means that the average condition of our roads will continue to decline for the next few years, but will then hold in the 'good' range.

Drainage maintained

Current funding for replacement of failed drainage will be maintained, enabling Council to replace approximately 30% of drainage that fails.

Environmental programs and works maintained

Sustainability works and programs will continue beyond 2014/15, when the Sustainability Levy finishes. Continuing programs include bushland and foreshore rehabilitation projects, and lake water quality improvement programs.

Read more about the Sustainability Levy and current environmental programs.

Community facilities remain open

Rate increases under Option 2 will allow Council to keep the Lake Macquarie Performing Arts Centre and pools open. Libraries will remain open in the short term; however, funding levels have been set at the same amount as 2011/2012 budget. This means that as costs increase over time, levels of service and stock will need to decrease to ensure the service can be provided within the budget available.

Consequently, reductions in opening hours, staff, book stock, and service points will be considered. Lake Macquarie Art Gallery will have all internal lights changed to meet new environmental legislation at a cost of $82,150.

Sporting and recreation facilities –minimal improvements

Our pools will not be upgraded to standards reflected in Council's Pool Service Delivery Model. For example, the proposed water play zone at Speers Point will not be delivered under Option 2.

Our pools will have resuscitation equipment and disability hoists upgraded at a cost of $140,200 over 7 years.

Current staffing levels maintained and frontline staff increased

While Council will continue to find efficiencies in the way we operate, current levels of staff will be maintained across all areas of Council. Maintaining staff levels means we can continue to respond in a timely manner to the 11,000 maintenance requests we receive each year.

Current Economic Development staffing will be retained. With the right levels of staff, we intend to maintain our current turnaround times for processing development applications. In addition, Ranger staffing will be increased, including weekend shifts and after hours services. Additional Ranger patrols on weekends will improve response times to requests, and patrols and enforcement activities will be increased during normal hours. The community will benefit from increased monitoring and enforcement of public health and environmental standards.

New capital projects

Total new capital expenditure over the 7 years will be $269M. Town centres will not be upgraded under Option 2. The Glendale Transport Interchange and the Lake Macquarie Waste Strategy will be funded.

Financial

Council will continue to experience an operating deficit until 2016/17, with an expected surplus of up to $5M in 2018/19. The City's infrastructure backlog of $67M will only be partially addressed. Increased funding for roads, for example, only maintains roads at a 'good' condition in the future due to increasing costs.

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