Friday 22 May 2015
Bega Valley Shire Council has responded to the state government’s Fit for the Future initiative with Councillors agreeing to exhibit a draft improvement proposal for public comment.
General Manager, Leanne Barnes said the Draft Council Improvement Proposal outlines the key directions that will take the Council from its current sustainable standing to a stronger position in the future.
“This is an important proposal that sits alongside our strategic planning documents and management plans,” she said.
“It draws on the benchmarks for successful and sustainable governance as provided by the NSW Government in its Fit for the Future package.
“Using these benchmarks, Councils throughout NSW have been assessed by the Independent Local Government review Panel using the criteria of financial sustainability, infrastructure and service management, efficiency, scale and capacity.
“While we are requested in our Council Improvement Proposal to show how we are working towards meeting the state government benchmarks, it is important to note that our initial independent assessment by the ILGRP shows that we are in a good position.
“From this the Panel has recommended that Bega Valley Shire Council undergo no change in terms of merging with other Councils, however we have discussed the options of cooperative service delivery models with our immediate neighbours.
“The Panel’s initial recommendation puts us in a good position to improve on an already sound base, and our Council Improvement Proposal outlines the steps that will take us there.
“Part of the Fit for the Future package involves a self-assessment tool which helps us to get a clear picture of how we are performing against the benchmarks.
“Of the seven benchmarks we are looking most at our operating performance ratio and infrastructure backlog ratio; an action plan to achieve these benchmarks by 2017 is included in the proposal.
“We have achieved benchmarks in own-source revenue, building and infrastructure renewals, asset maintenance and debt service, and although we didn’t reach the real operating expenditure per capita benchmark, this result has been skewed by past injections of state and federal emergency recovery funding and we are well on track to reaching our target in 2017.
“This is a valuable exercise for all NSW councils; it provides another way for us to question how we can best provide services, infrastructure and stability for the local community.
“I encourage the community to look at our proposal and provide feedback on our plans for the future,” Ms Barnes said.
To view the Draft Bega Valley Shire Council Improvement Proposal go to www.begavalley.nsw.gov.au Hard copies are also available at Council’s main office in Bega and at each of the Shire’s libraries.
The Draft Proposal will be on public exhibition until 5pm on Friday 5 June 2015.