SUPPLEMENTARY AGENDA


Council Meeting

 

Monday, 28 June 2021

 

 

Dragon Room

Level 1, Georges River Civic Centre

Corner Dora and MacMahon Streets, Hurstville

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Georges River Council – Ordinary Meeting -  Monday, 28 June 2021                                                                                 Page 0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OATH OF OFFICE OR AFFIRMATION OF OFFICE

All Georges River Councillors are reminded of their Oath of Office or Affirmation of Office made at the time of their swearing into the role of Councillor.

All Councillors are to undertake the duties of the office of Councillor in the best interests of the people of the Georges River Council area and are to act faithfully and impartially carry out the functions, powers, authorities and discretions vested in them under the Local Government Act 1993 or any other Act to the best of their ability and judgement.

 

 

DISCLOSURES OF INTEREST

All Georges River Councillors are reminded of their obligation to declare any conflict of interest (perceived or otherwise) in a matter being considered by Council or at any meeting of Council.


 

 

Ordinary Meeting

 ORDER OF BUSINESS

1.      MAYORAL MINUTE

MM006-21         Congratulations to Council Officers for Council's COVID-19 Safe Events Program

(Report by The Mayor, Councillor Greene)................................................................ 4

MM007-21         Awards for Georges River Council

(Report by The Mayor, Councillor Greene)................................................................ 5

MM008-21         COVID-19: Instrument of Delegation to the Mayor (Emergency Administrative Provisions)

(Report by The Mayor, Councillor Greene)................................................................ 7

2.      FINANCE AND GOVERNANCE

CCL041-21       Securing Council's Future - 2021/2022 Operational Plan, 2018/2019 - 2021/2022 Delivery Program and Updated Resourcing Strategy

(Report by Integrated Planning and Reporting Officer)......................................... 12

 


Georges River Council – Ordinary Meeting -  Monday, 28 June 2021                                                                                 Page 0

MAYORAL MINUTE

Item:       MM006-21  Congratulations to Council Officers for Council's COVID-19 Safe Events Program

Mayor:               The Mayor, Councillor Greene 

 

 

Background

Council is proud of the diverse Georges River community, and regularly celebrate our rich history and culture. This became harder to do due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the cancellation of both community-run and Council-run events due to restrictions.

 

The Community and Culture Directorate took this opportunity to re-imagine Council’s events and programming, making them scalable to suit changes in restrictions, and multi-modal to include both online and face-to-face events.

 

The suite of programs and activations included: Spring Foodies markets, Frightful Eighties drive-in cinemas, Mobile Musos busking program, the reimagined Christmas in Georges River, Get ReConnected Health and Wellbeing Festival, In Good Taste together with a smaller-scale Little Lunar celebration, It’s a Mood Youth Festival, and Council’s 2nd live broadcast of the Eurovision Song Contest.

 

The culmination of the program was the recent innovative and inclusive arts and culture festival Un[contained], hosted in Belgrave Street Kogarah and Kogarah Town Square. Activations included aerial performers, muralists, immersive sound and light artworks, video works and performance art showcasing a variety of contemporary artforms. Over 26,000 people attended this inaugural event.

 

The overall aim of the COVID-19 Safe Events Program was to connect the community, activate local town centres, reduce community isolation, and support the local economy.

 

Staff conducted community engagement at every event. Attendees at all events expressed their appreciation to Council for the delivery of these re-imagined and COVID-19 safe events, with many reporting that they look forward to attending the suite of events next year.

 

I invite my fellow Councillors to join me in thanking Council Officers for their commitment to ensuring the successful outcome of Council’s COVID-19 Safe Events Program.

 

 

MOTION:

That Council Officers be congratulated for the successful delivery of Council’s COVID-19 Safe Events Program for 2020/2021.

 

 

 

  


Georges River Council – Ordinary Meeting -  Monday, 28 June 2021                                                                                 Page 0

Item:          MM007-21         Awards for Georges River Council

Mayor:               The Mayor, Councillor Greene 

 

 

Background

I wish to bring to Council’s attention a number of significant awards won by Georges River Council.

At the NSW Local Government Excellence Awards earlier this month.
Georges River Council won the People, Workplace, Wellbeing Award for our BENE-FIT 360 program, received a highly commended in the Special Project Initiative Award for our THRIVE! Learning Program, and also a highly commended in Environmental Leadership for Gannons Park Water Quality Improvement and Stormwater Harvesting Scheme.

These Awards celebrate outstanding achievements; whilst promoting innovation and continuous improvement within NSW Local Government. To receive this level of industry recognition is an exciting achievement.

At the Greater Sydney Commission’s 2021 Greater Sydney Planning Awards this week, our Economic and Social Recovery Plan was the winner in the City Shaping During COVID-19 category.  The Award citation included:

“Georges River Council’s approach to COVID Recovery was insightful, strategic and comprehensive. While most Councils were proactive in their response to local challenges, the Georges River Council was guided by their Economic and Social Recovery Plan which delivered outstanding results. During shutdown, Council used the Australian Business Register to communicate and engage with local businesses, providing immediate targeted support.

And by prioritising the needs of the community, this comprehensive program addressed immediate and future needs while complementing existing State and Federal Government initiatives. This work forged partnerships with local business which will have a positive flow-on effect for the community and local enterprise for years to come.”

Notably, the judges also awarded two commendations in this category demonstrating the high standard of the entries.  The commendations went to the City of Sydney and Transport for NSW.

The ESPR has been a whole of Council effort and I would also like to acknowledge our Expert Recovery Panel, Dr Rob Lang, Eamon Waterford and Katherine O’Regan, for their support and guidance.

Hurstville Museum & Gallery has again been recognised at the Museums and Galleries National Awards (MAGNA), receiving a Highly Commended award in the 2021 MAGNA category for Best Temporary Exhibition for Artbomb: connect + create.  This is the seventh year running that Hurstville Museum & Gallery has been successful at the awards, which take place as part of the Australian Museum and Galleries Association (AMaGA) National Conference. Artbomb: connect + create ran from 9 June – 26 July 2020 and aimed to bring together our local community, artists and Hurstville Museum & Gallery in a re-kindled celebration of creativity and artistic expression.

 

 

At the National Awards for Planning Excellence, by the Planning Institute of Australia, the ChillOUT Hubs was the Winner in the “Best Ideas – Small Project”.  The National Judges’ citation included:

“The judges were impressed with the approach which focussed on deliverability and useability not just the theory of a smart cities concept. In the judges opinions, the ChillOUT hubs address a number of factors and provide a variety of economic, social and health benefits to local communities that are scalable and can be tailored to meet local demands and needs.”

 

 

MOTION:

That Council acknowledge and congratulate Georges River Council Officers on the success of the projects which were acknowledged in the NSW Local Government Excellence Awards 2021, the Greater Sydney Planning Awards, the Museums and Galleries National Awards, and the National Awards for Planning Excellence.

 

 

 

 

  


Georges River Council – Ordinary Meeting -  Monday, 28 June 2021                                                                                 Page 0

Item:       MM008-21  COVID-19: Instrument of Delegation to the Mayor (Emergency Administrative Provisions)

Mayor:               The Mayor, Councillor Greene 

 

BACKGROUND

Georges River Council has demonstrated excellent leadership within its community and the local government industry with its responses to the challenges of COVID-19. The very high levels of seriousness, urgency and growth in risks and related disruptions require constant reassessment. Agility in dealing with critical decisions around securing and deploying resources is paramount in the current environment.

 

At its March 2020 meeting, Council resolved to grant emergency delegation to the Mayor to enable the Mayor to make decisions of Council in emergency situations after consultation with the General Manager. This instrument of delegation was terminated by Council at its December 2020 meeting.

 

With consideration to the current Public Health Order (Public Health (COVID-19 Temporary Movement and Gathering Restrictions) Order 2021) and extensive lockdowns, Council is again facing risks around civic governance and resource decision making that are central to ensuring delivery of core services without seriously compromising the health and wellbeing of the community and staff. The business as usual approach to civic governance may quickly fail if it is not safe enough or otherwise impractical for Council to convene ordinary or extraordinary meetings in the coming months as a result of COVID-19.

 

Council should reintroduce contingency arrangements to protect the interests of the Council and the community as best as reasonably possible under the circumstances. It is prudent to grant emergency powers to the Mayor for a limited duration to cover critical contingencies that may arise.

 

PROPOSAL

It is recommended that a contingency arrangement for decision making outside of meetings of Council be put in place until such time as the pandemic has ended, unless terminated by Council before that date.

 

Attached is a proposed Instrument of Delegation to the Mayor which would enable the Mayor to make decisions of Council in emergency situations after consultation with the General Manager.

 

Should the Mayor need to exercise this delegation, the General Manager will provide a consolidated report once a month to all Councillors specifying any actions taken under the delegation adopted by Council.  Additionally, once activation of the current Business Continuity Plan ceases, a consolidated report to the first available meeting of Council will be submitted which lists all decisions made under this delegation.

 

Maintaining a proactive approach to contingency planning and risk mitigation for COVID-19 is vital as part of the ongoing program to serve and protect the interests of Council and the community.

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS

No financial/budget impact for this recommendation.

 

 

MOTION:

(a)     That Council adopt the Instrument of Delegation to the Mayor dated 28 June 2021 as detailed in Attachment 1 to this Mayoral Minute.

(b)     That the General Manager provide a consolidated report once a month to all Councillors specifying any actions taken under this delegation as adopted by Council.

(c)     Once activation of the current Business Continuity Plan ceases, a consolidated report to the first available meeting of Council will be submitted which lists all decisions made under this delegation.

 

 

ATTACHMENTS

Attachment 1

GRC - Instrument of Delegation to Mayor (Attachment to MM008-21)

 


Georges River Council - Ordinary Meeting - Monday, 28 June 2021

MM008-21              COVID-19: Instrument of Delegation to the Mayor (Emergency Administrative Provisions)

[Appendix 1]           GRC - Instrument of Delegation to Mayor (Attachment to MM008-21)

 

 

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Georges River Council – Ordinary Meeting -  Monday, 28 June 2021                                                                                 Page 0

FINANCE AND GOVERNANCE

Item:                   CCL041-21  Securing Council's Future - 2021/2022 Operational Plan, 2018/2019 - 2021/2022 Delivery Program and Updated Resourcing Strategy 

Author:              Integrated Planning and Reporting Officer and Chief Financial Officer

Directorate:      Office of the General Manager

Matter Type:    Finance and Governance

 

 

 

RECOMMENDATION:

(a) That Council note that following the public exhibition period for the:

a.      Draft Delivery Program 2018/19 to 2021/22; and

b.      Draft 2021/22 Operational Plan including the budget, revenue policy and Schedule of Fees and Charges; and

c.       Draft Resourcing Strategy encompassing Workforce Management Plan, Digital Resource Management Plan, Asset Management Plan and the Long-Term Financial Plan;

Attachments 1 and 2 have been amended as detailed in the body of this report.

(b) That in accordance with Sections 402, 403, 404 and 405 of the Local Government Act 1993 the:

a.      Draft Delivery Program 2018/19 to 2021/22; and

b.      Draft 2021/22 Operational Plan including the budget, revenue policy and Schedule of Fees and Charges; and

c.       Draft Resourcing Strategy encompassing the Workforce Management Plan, Digital Resource Management Plan, Asset Management Plan and the Long-Term Financial Plan.

including the amendments referred to in (a) above, be adopted.

(c)  That subject to the approval of (b) above, the 2021/22 Schedule of Fees and Charges, become effective as at 1 July 2021.

(d) That the General Manager be delegated authority to make minor editorial changes and enhancements prior to publishing these documents on Council’s website and providing a copy of the Delivery Program and Operational Plan to the Office of Local Government.

(e)     That Council note the Long-Term Financial Plan as an essential decision-making tool that is to be updated in line with decisions that may impact and affect the sustainability and ongoing service provisions of Council.

(f)      That Council adopt the proposed 2021/22 Budget strategies/directions outlined in the body of the report.

(g)     That, in accordance with Sections 496, 496A, 534, 535 and 538 of the Local Government Act 1993, Council makes rates and charges for every parcel of rateable land within the Georges River Council Local Government Area for the year commencing 1 July 2021 as detailed in the 2021/22 Operational Plan.

(h)     That the Georges River Council, as per the condition of the special variation granted to the former Hurstville City Council in 2007/08, reduce its general income for the 2021/22 rating year by $2.31 million.

(i)      That in order to secure the future of Georges River Local Government Area and as per the instrument of approval, Council increase its new general income base by 5.8% to a new estimated general income of $74.4 million in 2021/22.

(j)      That in accordance with Sections 493, 494 and 535 of the Local Government Act 1993, Council make and levy the 2021/22 Residential Rate based on the latest valuations (Base Date 1 July 2019) and any supplementary valuations applicable as at 1 July 2021. As such, the Georges River Council Residential Rate will be 0.00157010 and apply to all properties categorised as Residential, subject to the minimum rate.

(k)     That in accordance with Section 493, 494 and 535 of the Local Government Act 1993, Council make and levy the 2021/22 Business Rate based on the latest valuations (Base Date 1 July 2019) and any supplementary valuations applicable as at 1 July 2021. As such, the Georges River Council Business Rate will be 0.00318090 and apply to all properties categorised as Business, except for the following subcategories and subject to the minimum rates:

(i)      Business Industrial Rate will be 0.00389810 for 2021/22;

(ii)     Business Local Rate will be 0.00369810 for 2021/22;

(iii)    Business Major Shopping Complex Rate will be 0.00857890 for 2021/22;

(iv)    Business Commercial Strategic Centres (Hurstville and Kogarah CBDs) rate will be 0.00396360 for 2021/22;

(l)      That in accordance with Section 548 of the Local Government Act 1993, Council make and levy the 2021/22 annual ordinary residential minimum rate on each separate assessment to be $965.80.

(m)    That in accordance with Section 548 of the Local Government Act 1993, Council make and levy the 2021/22 annual ordinary Business – other than commercial strategic centres minimum rate on each separate assessment to be $1,100.

(n)     That in accordance with Section 548 of the Local Government Act 1993, Council make and levy the 2021/22 annual ordinary Business Commercial Strategic Centres (Hurstville and Kogarah CBD) minimum rate on each separate assessment to be $1,500.

(o)     That interest charged on overdue rates and charges for the year 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022, be the maximum rate set by the Minister for Local Government, calculated on a daily basis.

(p)     That in accordance with Section 496 of the Local Government Act 1993, the annual charges for Domestic Waste Management be set at $474 per annum for 2021/22.

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

1.      This report requests Council’s consideration and adoption of its draft Integrated Planning and Reporting (IPR) documents, being the:

a.      Draft Delivery Program 2018/19 to 2021/22; and

b.      Draft 2021/22 Operational Plan including the budget, revenue policy and Schedule of Fees and Charges; and

c.       Draft Resourcing Strategy encompassing the Workforce Management Plan, Digital Resource Management Plan, Asset Management Plan and the Long-Term Financial Plan.

    as amended, following the public exhibition period.

 

2.      The report provides an overview of the submissions received, copies of which have been provided to Councillors via the Councillor Portal, and Council’s response.

3.      The 2021/22 Budget adoption will be a significant decision for Council, in securing the future of the Local Government Area (LGA). The Budget has been developed based on the following strategy:

·        The draft 2021/22 budget has been prepared with the objective of achieving an operating surplus in future years and avoid substantial service/FTE reduction

·        Assumes savings of $4 million each year for the next three years (2022/23, 2023/24 and 2024/25)

·        The Capital budget continues to be reduced to protect cash reserves, so that cash remains available to fund essential operational activities

·        The new capital program will again only be funded from grants and developer contributions

·        Disposal of underperforming assets, including plant and properties to offset loss of income due to COVID-19 and investment interest income drop ($3.3 million income)

·        Continuation of the capping of employee costs with a target of $60 million and continuation of 2020/21 strategy (detailed below)

·        Eligible Fees and Charges have been set at 5% increase

·        A material increase in legal expenditure by $1.2 million due to the active and ongoing NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) investigation into Councillors Badalati and Hindi

·        Election cost of $1 million has been included

·        Implementation of productivity improvements and cost efficiencies identified in the adopted IPART application continues

·        Ongoing reduction in consultancy expenditure and continued focus on essential items only

·        Anticipated costs associated with debt recovery as a result of COVID-19 impacts

·        Transfer of funds from the sponsorship and donations budget to the Councillor discretionary ward fund program (operational use only - $75,000)

·        $6 million worth of operational programs project, services and $350 million in capital projects be deferred, reduced or deleted.

4.      Further details on the budget are included in the financial implications section of this report.

BACKGROUND

5.      Local councils in NSW undertake their planning and reporting activities in accordance with the Local Government Act 1993 and the Local Government (General) Regulation 2005

6.      Attachment 1 contains the Draft 2021/2022 Operational Plan including the 2018/19 to 2021/22 Delivery Program, the Draft Budget and Fees and Charges.

7.      Attachment 2 is the updated Resourcing Strategy which includes updates to the Workforce Management Plan, Asset Management Plan and the Long-Term Financial Plan.  The Digital Resource Management Plan is included in the Resourcing Strategy for the first time. Both documents have been graphically designed during the exhibition period to improve aesthetics and readability.

PUBLIC EXHIBITION

8.      Public exhibition of the draft Delivery Program 2018/19 to 2021/22, Operational Plan 2022 and updated Resourcing Strategy ran from 29 April to 27 May 2021 (28 days).  Notification of the public exhibition including invitations to provide comment occurred as follows:

·        Information and copies of the documents were placed on Council’s website under the ‘Have Your Say’ page

·        2,786 registered members of Council’s ‘Your Say’ site were notified of the public exhibition through one eNewsletter – 3 May 2021

·        Social media posts (7,937 followers)

·        Your Say page shared on LinkedIn - 4,232 followers

·        Advertisements in the St George Leader – 12 and 19 May 2021

·        Community e-news posts distributed to 20,244 contacts

 

9.      Six unique submissions were received from individuals and community groups.

10.    Councillors were provided with a full copy of the submissions on 7 June 2021 via the Councillor Portal and Final Budget Briefing.

Summary of Public Submissions

·        One submission relating to environmental sustainability practices and lack of library facilities in Kingsgrove:

 

Environmental sustainability practices

 

Requesting a performance indicator on the amount of recycled/reused/diverted waste as a percentage of total waste collected annually to monitor the progress of these waste management contracts and practices in diverting waste from landfill.

 

Response - Council currently reports on the success of its waste education campaigns through its six-monthly progress reports on its Delivery Program and through its Annual Reports. Council is unable to provide annual waste data results within the timeframe for the annual report, due to the delay in obtaining complete tonnage data for the month of June each year from Council's waste service providers.

 

Council undertakes detailed waste and resource recovery reporting to the NSW Environment Protection Agency (EPA) in the Local Government Annual Data Return, which allows data to be provided in keeping with waste industry timeframes. This information is shared by the NSW EPA and can be obtained online from the NSW EPA's website.

 

Library facility in Kingsgrove

 

Requesting a local branch library in Kingsgrove so that Kingsgrove residents can access library and community services that others enjoy in their own local areas.

 

Response - Georges River Council’s adopted Libraries 2030 Strategy sets out a clear and exciting vision for the delivery of libraries in the Georges River local government area (LGA). This important strategic document was developed with extensive community consultation and a thorough examination of future population needs.

 

The strategy sets out several goals which includes the construction of a new major library to service the western half of the Georges River LGA (Goal 1.3, pg.32). The Libraries 2030 Strategy is available to read via the Council Strategies web page: https://www.georgesriver.nsw.gov.au/Council/About-Your-Council/Council-Strategies.

 

In the meantime, whilst Council undertakes the implementation of this strategy, Kingsgrove residents are referred to a number of libraries that are located within close proximity and sit within the boundaries of 3 LGAs (2 adjoining LGAs), Georges River Council, Bayside Council and Canterbury Bankstown Council:

 

o    Bayside Council’s Bexley North Library

o    Canterbury Bankstown Council’s Lakemba Library

o    Georges River Council’s Hurstville Library

 

·        One submission requesting footpaths and suitable slants be installed around Lugarno, particularly around Lugarno Parade and Cedar Street and comments that walking a pram is currently very dangerous.

 

Response - Each year, Council ensures adequate funding is allocated to maintain and renew existing footpaths to ensure they remain in a safe and serviceable condition. This must be balanced with providing funding to extend our footpath network where it is most needed to improve pedestrian facilities across the Georges River Area. 

 

Council applies standard methodology to assess and prioritise new footpath requests across the LGA. Each road section is assessed on multiple criteria that includes surrounding land use, pedestrian and vehicle traffic volumes, linkages to other footpaths, existing pedestrian crossing facilities and the condition of the existing grass verge.

 

·        One submission requesting improvements be made to the Isaac Street/Forest Road roundabout in Peakhurst currently included in the 2021/22 Capital Works Program and requesting that this project be included in the Traffic Facilities budget as a priority initiative.

 

Response – Council has undertaken a design investigation in relation to improving accessibility and safety of pedestrian movements at the roundabout on Forest Road and Isaac Street. A re-design that is compliant with current Austroads Design Guidelines may require the loss of existing street parking in front of residents’ homes. This would be subject to consultation as part of the Local Traffic Advisor Advisory Committee process.

 

·        One submission commenting that too much funding is spent on outsourcing.

 

Response – Specialised skill sets are required for specific services undertaken by Council. Council undertakes a review of all consultancies and professional services proposed to be engaged each year prior to engagement occurring. 

 

·        One submission covering several areas; Local Environmental Plan, Environmental Resilience Strategy, Biodiversity Strategy and performance indicators.

Local Environmental Plan – addressing an alleged discrepancy/contradiction regarding finalising the review of the Hurstville LEP heritage schedule as part of the Comprehensive LEP and incorporating recommendations of the Foreshore Scenic Character Review into the Georges River LEP. The submitter is requesting advice as to whether further work on the Georges River Local Environment Plan Stage 2 will continue or be deferred as advised in the Financial Estimates statement.

 

Response – The planning proposal to incorporate the recommendations of the Foreshore Scenic Character (FSPA) Review into the Georges River LEP and Local Environmental Plan Stage 2 are two separate projects. The following LEP Program was endorsed by Council at its meeting dated 23 November 2020:

 

Stage 1:    Housing and Harmonisation (completed with no change)

Stage 1B: LEP21 Housing Capacity

 

Stage 2:    Housing Choice (update timeframe from 2021 to 2022)

 

o   Seek to promote inclusive and affordable housing

o   Investigate mechanisms such as big house conversions and build to rent to provide more housing choice across the LGA

 

Stage 3:    Jobs and Activation (update timeframe from 2022 to 2023)

 

o   Review development standards in centres

o   Infrastructure delivery mechanisms

o   Review and implement the outcomes of the Hurstville City Centre and Beverly Hills Local Centre masterplans

 

Stage 4:  Housing and Future Growth (no change to schedule for 2025 and beyond)

 

o   Focus on land use changes beyond the next 5 years.

 

Council has deferred Stage 2 - Housing Choice.

 

The work for the FSPA Review has been completed and will be reported to Council in June 2021. One of the outcomes of the review is to prepare a set of amended planning controls which will form the basis of an amended set of planning controls resulting in changes to the Georges River LEP and DCP. This work will commence in FY2021/22 and will be carried out inhouse.

 

Environmental Resilience Strategy – addressing an alleged discrepancy/contradiction regarding developing a Resilience Strategy and requesting advice as to whether further work on the Environmental Resilience Strategy will continue or be deferred as advised in the Financial Estimates statement. The submitter also requests that if it is to be deferred, Council reconsider the decision considering the importance of this strategy to the design and management of Council assets (including environmental assets).

 

ResponseThe development of the Environmental Resilience Strategy will continue into 2021/22. The development and implementation of clean energy and climate change aspects related to the Environmental Resilience Strategy is pending the consideration and adoption of the Strategy by Council. Actioning the recommendations of the Strategy may depend on the availability of funding and the programming of priority projects.

 

Biodiversity Strategy – addressing the fact there was no action in the Operational Plan for the Biodiversity Strategy. The submitter believed the Biodiversity Study was undertaken in the early months of 2021 and was completed. The submitter suggests the Biodiversity Strategy should be incorporated into Council’s projects and that given its importance to the environmentally sustainable management of the LGA, Council reconsider the deferral of development of the Biodiversity Strategy as advised in the Financial Estimates statement.

 

ResponseThe development of the Biodiversity Strategy is a recommended action of the Biodiversity Study.  Funding has not been allocated in the 2021/22 budget for the preparation of the Strategy.

 

Performance Indicators – suggesting that:

 

o   The number of street trees removed each year be added to Pillar 1 Performance Indicator to ascertain the nett number of removed street trees against planted.

 

Response - In accordance with Council's Tree Management Policy, the removal of public trees, including street trees, requires the approval of the Director Assets and Infrastructure for all trees above 10 metres in height.

 

Whilst Council could report on the total number of trees removed over 10 metres, it is not considered appropriate to set this as a performance indicator target as trees are primarily removed for risk management reasons such as public safety, damage to property or damage to Council infrastructure.

 

o   Performance indicator “number of hectares of active bush regeneration activities”. The submitter would like clarification on how this number is calculated and how the target was specified without having a baseline figure?

 

Response – With the use of Council's mapping tool we measure all bush regeneration project sites and Bushcare volunteer site areas to quantify our active regeneration activities. This was a new measure in the current Delivery Program. The current draft Delivery Program will be updated to reflect actual hectares managed and with consideration to future grants opportunities.

 

o   Performance indicator “number of layers of vegetation including trees, shrubs and ground covers to improve habitat, biodiversity and bushland structure (or other community tree planting) activities”. The submitter would like an explanation of the meaning of this indicator, how it is calculated or counted, how the baseline figure was arrived at and if the meaning is total number planted in the different layers that within that total estimate of the numbers in each layer be provided.

 

Response – This indicator relates to the number of plants installed (trees, shrubs and ground covers) through bushland projects, volunteer activities and community events to improve habitat, biodiversity and bushland structure. This is new measure in the draft Delivery Program to incorporate reporting on all types of planting. Reporting will include plant breakdown.

 

o   Request for an additional performance indicator of action taken to provide a protected and enhanced Georges River such as “percentage of drain outlets flowing directly into the Georges River that have GPTs installed (an outlet point and/or at suitable/appropriate point higher up the catchment).

 

Response - Council currently provides treatment through a range of Stormwater Quality improvement devices. The number of new devices does not change greatly from year to year. For this reason, it is not considered appropriate to include this measure as a performance indicator. It is more appropriate to report on the total percentage of catchment area covered by a stormwater quality improvement device within the annual report when additional stormwater quality improvement devices are installed.

 

·        One submission relating to the New Rates 2021 and disagreement with the proposed major shopping complex business subcategory and subsequent rate increase.

 

Response – No amendments were made to the draft position, based on original draft policy decision, consequential impact on other ratepayers and the multi-year aspect of the special rate variation.

      

11.    The following requests to amend the Resourcing Strategy received from officers during the public exhibition period have been incorporated:

·        Request from the Chief Information Officer to update the snapshot figures in the Digital Resource Management Plan.

12.    The following requests to amend the Delivery Program/Operational Plan received from officers during the public exhibition period have been incorporated:

·        Action 4.3.1b and 4.3.1.bi “Lobby the Australian and NSW Governments to address infrastructure gaps” will be removed from the Delivery Plan as this is considered to be a business-as-usual activity.

·        Business Strategic Centres – Ordinary Ad-Valorem rate and permissible income adjusted in accordance with Section 509 of the Local Government Act 1993.

·        Olds Park Power Supply Upgrade (funded from Developer Contributions)

·        Beverly Hills Masterplan - Hazard Analysis for the gas pipeline (approved grant funding)

·        Mortdale Local Centre Masterplan (approved grant funding).

13.    The following requests to amend the Delivery Program/Operational Plan and in particular the Schedule of Fees and Charges received during the public exhibition period have been incorporated:

·        Commercial Car Parking new maximum fees amendments (Financial Sustainability Working Group meeting held on 12 May 2021). Changes requested have been made, except for the Derby Street Carpark - Saturday parking. Saturday parking still shows in the Draft Fees and Charges for Derby Street that a cost for parking will occur from 6.00am to 7.00pm. However, a twelve (12) month trial will take place allowing free parking from 12:30pm onwards, to align with street parking signage. Following the trial period, a report will be presented to Council recommending for it to either continue or revert to paid parking as per the adopted Fees and Charges.

·        Legal Proceeding fees and charges to cover work undertaken by Council’s paralegals (where appropriate). Cost recovery for paralegals at $200 per hour and administrative/support at $85 per hour.  These figures are in line with the suggested costs proposed by Council’s external consultants having regard to the NSW Supreme Court’s Costs Assessment Rules Committee, Supreme Court judgments relating to costs recovery by in-house practitioners within government agencies and best industry practice.

·        Other:

o   New fee added for the Compliance Cost Notice, varies depending on cost (Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997)

o   New few added for the Recovery Cost Notice, varies depending on cost (Local Government Act 1993, see sections 197 and 678)

o   Streamlined multiple Temporary Food Premises (TFP) fees and removed four TFP fees.

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS

14.    The 2021/22 budget is an important year for Council and the community. The budget has been prepared with a focus on the feedback received from the community during our New Rates 2021 consultation. It has incorporated the service standards that are expected, identified savings, and assumes the special rate variation.

15.    Without the Special Rate Variation, Council’s future would be at risk, with immediate staff and service reductions being required. The 2021/22 budget is a considered budget that places Council on the path to securing its long-term financial sustainability in future years.

16.    The Capital budget has been prioritised to focus on grant and contribution funded projects along with high priority critical asset renewal. Council’s operating cash contribution continues to be reduced to protect cash reserves, so that cash remains available to fund essential community services.

17.    Key aspects of the budget include:

·        New or renewed community assets to the value of $40 million. Highlights include:

o   Hurstville Golf Course Clubhouse project

o   Mortdale Shopping Centre Streetscape

o   Fleet and Plant Replacement Program

o   Road Re-sheeting Program

o   Critical Safety and Asset Renewal program

o   Decontamination and Remediation of the Kogarah War Memorial Site

o   Stormwater Drainage Critical Program

o   Footpath Critical Safety Program

·        Implementation of productivity improvements and cost efficiencies identified in the adopted IPART application continues

·        No reduction in grants or subsidies to community groups

·        Application of the New Rates 2021 Special Rate Variation to increase rate income, which includes retention of the expiring former Hurstville Special Rate Variation (approval from the IPART announced in May 2021).

·        Expansion of Council hardship payment support options

·        Segregation of funds to ensure footpaths, playgrounds, building, roads, stormwater and other key assets are repaired and renewed.

·        Employee costs budget target with the annual Award increase of 2% ($1.3 million) being absorbed by the application of the savings strategy, that includes the continuation of the two-week Christmas close down, removal of the 3 free annual leave (grant days), 7% vacancy rate maintained, 16 week hold on recruitment, reduction in staff benefits program, and reductions to learning and development.

·        Reduction in consultancies through the deferment of projects and programs and/or sourcing of grant funding

·        Strict application of the pricing methodology to fees and charges with an aim of cost recovery

·        Material increase in legal expenditure due to the active and ongoing NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) investigation into Councillors Badalati and Hindi

·        Depreciation increases due to the construction of new assets and rising cost of replacement

·        No new loan borrowings, with the continued obligation to repay the Mortdale Jubilee Community Centre external loan ($500,000 annual repayment from general revenue)

·        The scheduled 2021 local government election cost of $1 million has been funded

·        Anticipated costs associated with debt recovery arising from COVID-19 impacts

·        Disposal of underperforming assets to offset loss of income due to COVID-19 and investment interest income drop ($3.3 million income).

18.    In preparing the draft 2021/22 Budget some difficult decisions have been required to secure Council’s financial sustainability. 

19.    Council has an adopted forecasted operating deficit (before capital grants) for 2021/22 of $12 million.

20.    Therefore, to minimise Council’s projected operating deficit, protect cash reserves and weather any continued adverse impacts of COVID-19, officers have recommended $6 million worth of operational programs project, services and $350 million in capital projects be deferred, reduced or deleted. Major items include:

·        Reduction in employee costs, i.e., no increase is budgeted for the mandated annual award increase, maintaining the vacancy rate, recruitment holding periods, annual Christmas close down

·        Continued removal of staff benefits such as the all-staff conference, Learning and Development program and removal of the Christmas period grant days

·        Reduction of the Councillor Discretionary Ward Fund

·        Deferral of some operational projects such as the Environmental Resilience Strategy (clean energy and climate change), Biodiversity Strategy, Beverly Hills Masterplan, etc.

·        Deferral of capital projects such as a new skate park, public art program, synthetic fields program, LED streetlight upgrade, new footpath construction, San Souci Bathers Pavilion construction, Hurstville Civic Precinct re-development, etc.

21.    Based on this approach the adopted forecast deficit of $12 million has been reduced to a projected deficit of $4.5 million, which aligns to the recommended model 2 in the Long-Term Financial Plan (LTFP), that will place Council on the path to financial sustainability.

22.    Full details of Council’s 10 years LTFP, which includes the new draft budget result, are outlined in the Resourcing Strategy.

RISK IMPLICATIONS

23.    Councillors have been appraised over the past three financial years of Council’s poor and deteriorating financial outlook over the 10-year period of the LTFP. Failure to address the unsustainable financial position places Council in contravention of section 8B of the Local Government Act 1993 and will compel Council to cut and/or reduce services to ease the unfavourable gap between income and expenditure.

24.    Without the Special Rate Variation, Council’s future would be at risk, with immediate staff and service reductions being required. The 2021/22 budget is a well-considered budget that places Council on the path to securing its long-term financial sustainability in future years and is aligned to the community feedback from the New Rates 2021 consultation.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

25.    Community engagement was conducted, which is listed under the sub-heading of ‘Public Exhibition’ in the body of this report.

 

FILE REFERENCE

D21/146637, D21/146231

 

 

 

ATTACHMENTS

Attachment 1

2021-2022 Draft DP and OP Content - FINAL ADOPTION - Council Meeting 28-6-21 - Fees and Charges Included

Attachment 2

2021-2022 Resourcing Strategy - Final for Council Meeting 28 June 2021

 


Georges River Council - Ordinary Meeting - Monday, 28 June 2021

CCL041-21             Securing Council's Future - 2021/2022 Operational Plan, 2018/2019 - 2021/2022 Delivery Program and Updated Resourcing Strategy

[Appendix 1]           2021-2022 Draft DP and OP Content - FINAL ADOPTION - Council Meeting 28-6-21 - Fees and Charges Included

 

 

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Georges River Council - Ordinary Meeting - Monday, 28 June 2021

CCL041-21             Securing Council's Future - 2021/2022 Operational Plan, 2018/2019 - 2021/2022 Delivery Program and Updated Resourcing Strategy

[Appendix 2]           2021-2022 Resourcing Strategy - Final for Council Meeting 28 June 2021

 

 

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Georges River Council – Ordinary Meeting -  Monday, 28 June 2021                                                                                 Page 0

Assets and Infrastructure

Community and Culture

Notices of Rescission

Notices of Motion

Questions with Notice

Confidential items (Closed Meeting)