Council Meeting

 

MINUTES OF MEETING

 

Thursday, 25 May 2017

 Present

Council Members

Administrator, Mr John Rayner 

 

Council Staff

General Manager, Ms Gail Connolly

Director Assets and Infrastructure, Mr Laurie O’Connor

Director Community and Culture, Mr David Tuxford

Chief Operating Officer, Ms Carole Todd

Director Transformation and Change, Ms Marissa Racomelara

General Counsel, Ms Jenny Ware

Executive Manager, Office of the General Manager, Ms Rebekah Schulz

Personal Assistant to Executive Manager, Office of the General Manager, Ms Franzi Mintus

 

 

Opening

The Administrator, Mr J Rayner opened the meeting at 6.00pm.

 

The Administrator acknowledged the traditional custodians of the land, the Biddegal people.

 

Apologies 

An apology was tendered on behalf of the Director Environment and Planning, Ms Meryl Bishop.

 

 

Disclosure of Interest

There were no disclosures of interest made.

 

PROCEDURAL MOTION

Minute No. 109

(a)       That the report item CCL080-17 - Draft 2017-18 Operational Plan be considered in conjunction with the Administrator’s minute.

 

Administrator’s Minute

26   Draft 2017-18 Operational Plan including 2017-18 Budget

1.         Introduction

 

Georges River Council will tonight consider its first Draft Operational Plan and Schedule of Fees.  Last year, Council consolidated the separate Plans and Budgets of the former Hurstville and Kogarah City Councils.

 

Bringing the financial accounts of the former Councils together under one system has been a complex and time consuming project and will be subject to enhancement over the next 12 months as budgets are aligned with services.

The draft documents will be placed on public exhibition for 28 days and I expect refinements as staff spend more time on the documents and we receive comment from the community.

I must express thanks and appreciation to the General Manager, Gail Connolly, Directors, Chief Financial Officer, Rob Owens and staff Francis Mangru, Carolyn Long and Scott Henwood for the work, at times very challenging, in getting the budget to where it is today and to the Executive Manager, Rebekah Schulz, Jessica Lee and Reanne Potter for the new look of the Operational Plan that includes a range of key performance indicators.

 

2.         Georges River Council

Georges River Council was proclaimed in May 2017.

 

Establishing your new Council is more than merging and improving services.  It is also about creating a positive culture within the organisations, building trust with the community and providing the highest level of customer service.

 

Currently Council is exhibiting a number of governance and planning policies to firmly establish its commitment to probity, transparency and consistency.

 

Section 3 of the Operational Plan “Budgets”, under the heading “The Merged Budget – A year in review (2016-2017)” (P38), lists a number of the significant achievements, reforms and changes since the merger. Whilst the merger has imposed heavy demands on the organisation, services have been maintained and are being progressively improved.

 

Examples of those benefits to the community since the merger include:

-       An increase in community grants from $147,000 to $200,000

-       Graffiti removal program extended across Georges River

-       Pensioner rate subsidy extended to Kogarah pensioners

-       “counter services” now available at Kogarah and Hurstville libraries during opening hours, including Saturday

 

3.         Financial Matters

As explained under “The Merged Budget – A year in review (2016-2017)” (P38), financial comparisons with previous years are not possible.

 

The 2016-2017 budget for Georges River Council was peculiar, in that due to the merger, it reflected all expenditure from 13 May 2016 to 30 June 2017 – a period of 13 ½ months.

 

However, in accordance with Australian Accounting Standards and State Government direction, the Council can only recognise 12 months of rates and grant income – from 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2017.

 

As a consequence, Council’s projected financial position is not able to be accurately compared with either the 2015-2016 financial year, nor with the results of the 2016-2017 financial year.

 

The Budget projects a net operating result (under the Australian Accounting Standards) of $19.327m at the end of June 2018.  This projection is based on a $47m capital program on top of the allocations to recurrent expenses.

 

In simple basic cash flow terms, the following table compares your Council budget for 2017/18 to the way a household budget would be structured.

 

Household Budget

Council Budget 2017/18

 

Income – Salary, wages

-       Interests

-       Other

Income – Rates

-       Charges

-       Operating / Grants

-       Interest

-       Fees

-       Other

$127m

Less Expenses – Every Day Living

-       Utilities

-       Home Maintenance

-       Mortgage / Rent

-       Other

Less Expenditure

-       Recurrent costs

-       Maintenance

-       Administration

-       Regulation

-       Other

$111m

Balance – Discretionary Expenditure

-       Available for holiday

-       Savings

-       A new car

-       Home improvements

Balance – Discretionary Expenditure

For Capital Works and Asset Renewals funded from Revenue

$16m

Note:         Other Capital works and Asset renewals funded by Grants, Reserves and Section 94 Contributions.  $31m

 

4.         Capital Projects

The 2017/18 Budget proposes a $47m Capital program including a number of important projects

  • Penshurst Park - Synthetic Field, Indoor Cricket Facilities, Parking and Youth Facility
  • Jubilee Park
  • Roads and Footpath works, $14m including Forest Road Footpaths ($2m)
  • Building works ($8m)
  • Environmental projects ($5m)
  • Aquatic facilities refurbishment ($1m)

 

5.         Rating

The NSW IPART has capped the total rate revenue increase across the State at 1.5% (the rate peg).

 

Property valuations have been re-determined by the Valuer General and will apply for the 2017/18 rating year.  The new property values will result in some ratepayers having an increased rate burden (higher than the rate peg). This will occur when an individual’s property valuation has increased more than the average valuation increase across Georges River.

 

6.         Fire Emergency Services Levy

The State Government has decided on a new way of funding Fire and Emergency services from 1st July 2017.  This amount payable to the State Government will be itemised separately on the rate notice.  At the time of preparing this minute, the State Government is reviewing aspects of the levy.

 

The Levy does not form part of Council’s income.

 

7.         Council Subsides

Council provides financial assistance to numerous community organisations.  The former Councils had different approaches to the allocation of those funds which totalled somewhere between $1.2m and $2m.

 

Previously, the only grants which were required to meet the criteria were the Community Grants which were increased in total from $147,000 to $200,000 in 2016/17, and a maximum $10,000 grant applied.

 

In order to achieve consistency and transparency, Council has adopted a Venue Hire Grants Policy and currently has a Council Sponsorship and Donations Policy on exhibition.

 

The aim of the suite of policies is to ensure that Council’s funding goes to those community organisations which provide the most benefit to our community.

 

8.         Budget – Refinements and Further Considerations

Whilst the Operational Plan and Budget are on exhibition I have requested the General Manager undertake work in:

a)    Refining the presentation of the documents, process and reviews

b)    Adjusting items in the Budget

c)    Reviewing/investigating further possible budget inclusions

 

(a)       Refining presentation of documents, processes and reviews

                       i.             Review and consolidate Reserves

                      ii.             Report to Council on 29th June 2017 on the timing of various stages associated with delivering projects in the Capital Works and Asset Replacement Program and reporting progress to Council quarterly.

                    iii.             To improve Council’s and the communities understanding of Council’s recurrent spending.

-           Provide a table which lists the expenditure and income for all services

-           Present Capital works and Asset Replacement Program under relevant headings

-           Prepare a table showing the funding  source for capital and asset replacement projects

 

(b)       Adjusting items in the Budget

                       i.             Add $300,000 to kick start delivering the Disability Inclusion Action Plan

                      ii.             Increase Community Grants allocation from $200,000 to $400,000

                    iii.             Consolidate an account from which to fund Council’s support to community based events

                    iv.             Based on changes to be provided by LGNSW reduce membership fees by $25,000

                      v.             Include $193,000 for roundabout Belmore Rd and Clarendon Rd - Peakhurst, funded by the Federal Government Blackspot Program

                    vi.             Add additional resources towards reducing the DA consideration backlog.

                   vii.             Urban Forest Strategy & Improvement Plan $70,000

                  viii.             Improve safety, upgrade the Gannon’s Park laneway access off Forest Rd

                    ix.             Council has received $7.853m in dividends from the creditors claim from the liquidation of Lehman Brothers and Class Action proceedings against Standard and Poors.  $3m has been allocated to drainage works in 2016/2017.  A further report to be provided to Council on 29 June 2017 to allocate the remainder of the funds to address infrastructure shortfalls and other projects.

                      x.             Further examine opportunities to utilise the Implementation Fund for the Council Chambers upgrade, which will provide flexible space, accommodate 15 Councillors and a larger public gallery

                    xi.             Allocate additional funds to address Domestic Violence including a White Ribbon Day March.

 

(c)       Review/investigating further possible budget inclusions

                       i.             Provide a report to Council on the increases in waste collection cost

                      ii.             Report to Council on 29th June 2017 on the potential to increase the number of trainees, apprentices and people with a disability engaged by Council

                    iii.             Funding for upgrade to playground and install lighting Boundary Road Reserve

                    iv.             Review the pre budget request to upgrade the Maintenance and Staff Amenities Building on the Council owned Beverley Park Golf Course

                      v.             A review be undertaken of Council’s current and future energy costs including cost incurred by users other than Council.

                    vi.             A report be provided on the position reached with completing works approved by the Traffic Committee

 

Minute No. 110

The Administrator moved and declared carried:

1.         That the report CCL080-17 - Draft 2017-18 Operational Plan be considered in conjunction with this minute.

2.         That the draft 2017-2018 Operational Plan including the Budget and Schedule of Fees and Charges, attached to the report, be approved for public exhibition for a period of 28 days between 26 May and 23 June 2017.

3.         That following the exhibition period referred to in (1) above, a report be presented to a Council meeting prior to 1 July 2017, advising of any submissions received relating to the draft 2017-2018 Operational Plan.

4.         That during the public exhibition period, the draft 2017-2018 Operational Plan including the Budget and Schedule of Fees and Charges be referred to the Implementation Advisory Committee for further review and comment.

5.         That the refinements and further considerations listed in Section 8 of this Minute be referred to the General Manager for further report.

 

Finance and Governance

CCL080-17       Draft 2017-2018 Operational Plan

(Report by Senior Corporate Planner)

Minute No. 111

The Administrator moved and declared carried:

(a)       That the report CCL080-17 - Draft 2017-18 Operational Plan be considered in conjunction with the Administrator’s Minute.

(b)    That the draft 2017-2018 Operational Plan including the Budget and Schedule of Fees and Charges, attached to the report, be approved for public exhibition for a period of 28 days between 26 May and 23 June 2017.

(c)     That following the exhibition period referred to in (a) above, a report be presented to a Council meeting prior to 1 July 2017 advising of any submissions received relating to the draft 2017-2018 Operational Plan.

(d)     That during the public exhibition period, the draft 2017-2018 Operational Plan including the Budget and Schedule of Fees and Charges, be referred to the Implementation Advisory Committee for further review and comment.

(e)    That the refinements and further considerations listed in Section 8 of this Minute be referred to the General Manager for further report.

 

CCL081-17       Tender for Sans Souci Leisure Centre Swimming Pool Refurbishment

(Report by Manager Project Delivery)

Minute No. 112

The Administrator moved and declared carried:

(a)     That the report be received and noted.

(b)     That the separate report on this agenda relating to Tender for Sans Souci Leisure Centre Swimming Pool Refurbishment be considered in closed session, in accordance with the provisions of Part 1 of Chapter 4 of the Local Government Act 1993, Section 10A (2) (c) as it is considered the information, if disclosed, confers a commercial advantage on a person with whom the Council is conducting (or proposes to conduct) business.

  

Confidential items (Closed Council Meeting)

The Administrator asked the General Manager if any representations had been received from the public that the item should not be discussed in closed session.

The General Manager replied that no representations had been received to the item in closed session.

The Administrator asked if there were any members of the public gallery who would like to speak on the reasons Council proposes to consider the items in closed session.

 

Recommendation

That in accordance with the provisions of Part 1 of Chapter 4 of the Local Government Act 1993, the following matters be considered in closed Council at which the press and public are excluded.

 

CON007-17       Tender for Sans Souci Leisure Centre Swimming Pool Refurbishment

(Report by Manager Project Delivery)

THAT in accordance with the provisions of Part 1 of Chapter 4 of the Local Government Act 1993, the matters dealt with in this report be considered in closed Council Meeting at which the press and public are excluded. In accordance with Section 10A(2) (d(i)) it is considered the matter concerns commercial information of a confidential nature that would if disclosed prejudice the position of a person who supplied it.

THAT in accordance with Section 10D it is considered that if the matter were discussed in an open Council Meeting, it would on balance, be contrary to the public interest as it concerns commercial information of a confidential nature that would if disclosed prejudice the position of a person who supplied it.

That in accordance with the provisions of Section 11(2) of the Act, the reports and correspondence relating to these matters be withheld from the press and public.

 

Consideration of Confidential Recommendations

CON007-17       Tender for Sans Souci Leisure Centre Swimming Pool Refurbishment

(Report by Manager Project Delivery)

Minute No. 113

The Administrator moved and declared carried:

(a)     That Council resolve in accordance with Clause 178 (1(b)) of the Local Government (General) Regulation 2005 to decline to accept any of the tenders submitted for the Sans Souci Leisure Centre Swimming Pool Refurbishment for the reasons outlined in the report and because Council believes there is a limited number of service specialists capable of undertaking these remediation works and because fresh tenders are not viable within the limited time period of this winter season.

(b)     That Council resolve as permitted under Clause 178 (3(e)) of the Local Government (General) Regulation 2005, to enter into negotiations with selected Contractors as outlined in the report, due to the specialised nature of the works, with a view to entering into a contract for the Sans Souci Leisure Centre Swimming Pool Refurbishment.

(c)     That Council grant the General Manager authority to enter into a contract for the subject works required on the Sans Souci Leisure Centre Swimming Pool Refurbishment, following negotiations in accordance with the above resolution.

 

Open Council

Minute No. 114

The Administrator moved that the meeting revert to Open Council.

 

Consideration of Recommendations from Closed Session

Minute No. 115

The Administrator moved and declared carried that the Report of the Closed session recommendation be adopted.

 

Conclusion

The Meeting was closed at 6.09pm.

 

Minutes confirmed Monday, 5 June 2017.

 

 

 

 

Chairperson