An independent assessment of Coffs
Harbour City Council’s response to the NSW Government’s Fit for the Future
(FFTF) local government reform plan has found that the ongoing strategies put
in place by Council will ensure it will be financially sustainable by the
AEC Group found that Council will
meet or show sufficient improvement in the seven FFTF benchmarks – covering
financial sustainability, efficiency and infrastructure and service management
– that need to be reached by 2019/2020.
The report concluded that
“Council’s proposal includes strategies that are appropriate and robust and
have a high degree of confidence attached to their resulting impact on
financial sustainability outcomes and indicators”.
The strategies include:
The Transformation to Sustainability (T2S) Program – a restructure
and review of Council’s operations that is forecast to make savings of up to
$3.2m per year by 2017/2018.
The Special Rate Variations (SRV) which will generate an
additional $6.2m after three years for community infrastructure maintenance and
Improving asset management to optimise maintenance costs, asset
renewals and depreciation and to find more efficient ways to deal with the backlog of
repairs and replacements.
Additional revenue opportunities such as growing the income from
Council’s commercial business units and the commercialisation of the
organisation’s CityWorks construction division.
“We have been working hard for
several years already to ensure that Council will be financially sustainable in
the future,” said Steve McGrath, Council’s General Manager.
“As an organisation, we’ve had to
take some tough decisions and be very determined to meet our future financial
goals. Having this endorsement of our approach by AEC Group within the Fit for
the Future context is very welcome.”
Coffs Harbour City Council is not
included in the list of councils slated for amalgamation in the FFTF documents.
Instead, it is suggested that Coffs Harbour - together with Clarence Valley,
Bellingen Shire and Nambucca Shire Councils - form a regional Joint
Joint Organisations are proposed
to have three core functions - regional strategic planning, working with State
Government and regional leadership and advocacy. They may also undertake
optional functions such as regional service delivery and sharing skills and