Increased infrastructure spend aims to boost COVID-19 recovery

A strategy to boost infrastructure spending to help the Orange economy recover from the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, is a major element on the Orange City Council draft annual budget.

Infrastructure Committee chair Cr Jeff Whitton said the extra investment in projects will create jobs in the local area.

The 12 May Council meeting voted to put the proposed budget for the 2020/21 financial year on display for community comment.

The draft budget reveals plans to spend $78.9 million on capital projects in the coming year, part of a projected four year capital spend of $226 .6 million from 2020/21 to 2023/24.

The projects are to be funded by a mix of already-approved government grants, council reserves, property sales and loans.

The list of major capital projects planned to begin in the next 12 months, and to be completed in four years, includes:

  • The Future City CBD upgrade – $10 million (part of a 2 year $30 million project)
  • Upgrades to the Orange Regional Airport – $4.4 million
  • The new sporting precinct – $10 million (part of a 2 year $25 million project with NSW Government funding)
  • Stormwater harvesting expansion – $5million (including $2.5 million NSW Government funding)
  • Orange Regional Gallery Expansion – $5 million (Council to add $1 million to $4 million NSW Government funding)

Cr Whitton said the timing was right for the budget to include a consolidated operating deficit (before capital) of almost $1.3 million ($1,294,992) for 2020/21.

“At the moment, cash is cheap,” Cr Jeff Whitton said. “There’s probably no better time to borrow.”

“We need to be able to have those capital works projects, generate jobs, generate investment and take Orange forward.”

The budget makes provision for a $1.8 million loss in revenue next financial year from agencies affected by COVID-19 restrictions, including:

  • Child care centres
  • Civic Theatre and Aquatic Centre closure
  • Reduction in airport landing fees and parking fines

Listen to Finance Committee chair Cr Jeff Whitton explain how the budget will help the local economy, in a recent edition of ‘The Orange Podcast’:

 

 

By visiting the YourSay Orange website, Orange residents can:
 leave a comment about any aspect of the budget
 complete a short survey
 find out more about the details of the budget

 

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