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Draft budget, Function Centre, Vouchers on Council agenda

By May 17, 2023May 18th, 2023News

The draft budget, the future of the Orange Function Centre and state government vouchers were all on the agenda of last night’s (16 May) Council meeting. Here’s what was decided:

Draft Budget up for community comment

Last night’s meeting has put the Council ‘s draft budget on exhibition for community comment for 28 days.

The draft spending and income plans for the 2023/24 financial year show:

  • a reduction of the operating deficit from $2.4 million last year to $500K this year, a move towards balanced budgets in the years ahead
  • interest income growing from $2 million last year to $8.9 million this year through agile negotiation.

The budget includes plans to increase rates in line with the NSW Government’s rate cap of 3.7%. This rate cap means:

  • average residential rates in Orange will increase by $2.09 per week or $109.19 per year
  • average business rates in Orange will increase by $2.57 per week or $133.64 per year.

With this budget, the Council will begin on continue to work on projects including:

  • Sporting Precinct development $60m
  • Orange Regional Conservatorium $25m
  • Footpath rehabilitation and construction $600k
  • Huntley Road further upgrades $1.1m
  • Shiralee water supply expansion $6.9m
  • Lake Canobolas upgrade $1.3m
  • Sewage Treatment Plant Inlet works $8.3M


Council discusses future of Function Centre

Last night’s meeting decided to continue to operate the Orange Function Centre to host community style events.

A report to last night’s meeting said maintenance work worth around $3 million had been identified. The meeting decided to consider the centre when allocating fund in future budgets. The meeting also decided to engage with current centre operators as future plans are developed.

According to the report, $796,978 has been spent on the centre since 2014 to keep the Function Centre open and operational. The meeting decided to consider allocation of funding for work on the Function Centre in future budgets.

A recent online survey on the YourSay Orange platform found that 87% of respondents believe Orange City Council should continue to operate the Orange Function Centre as a venue for large-scale community events, such as balls, school graduations and antique fairs.

When asked whether it was the Council’s role to operate a function centre:

  • 34% believed it was the Council’s role
  • 6% believed it wasn’t the Council’s role
  • 60% believed there is room for both Council and the private sector.

Extra insights for new councillors about First Nations Culture

Newly-elected Orange City Council members will be offered training on First Nations culture following a decision at last night’s Council meeting.

A motion from Deputy Mayor Cr Gerald Power was passed with the aim of providing councillors elected for the next term in 2024, with the tools needed to move forward in reconciliation with an understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in Orange.

Council to push for more Active Kids Vouchers

Orange City Council will ask the state government to take a second look at plans to cancel the Active Kids vouchers will are due to expire at the end of June 2023.

A motion from Cr Tammy Greenhalgh was passed asking for letters to be written to other councils encouraging them to lobby the NSW Government to seek an extension and increase the Active Kids Program.

Concern at costs of emergency services levy

Orange City Council will contact State Government ministers and Orange’s State MP to express concern at the increased cost of the emergency services levy.

A motion from Cr Steve Peterson was passed at last night’s meeting asking for the government to restore the Emergency Services Levy subsidy for the coming financial year and asking the new Government to consult and examine how to make emergency services funding and Local Government overall self-sustaining financially in the future.

Planning decision

Last night’s meeting approved a Development Application (DA) for a new subdivision in the Bowen area, creating six Torrens lots with frontage and access to Maramba Road and Sophie Drive and 13 community lots with frontage and access to a private road.

Councillors chosen to attend Roads Conference

Last night’s meeting chose which councillors will attend the NSW Local Roads Congress next month.

The meeting chose Councillors Hamling, Greenhalgh, and Mileto to attend the event to be held on Monday 5 June at Parliament House in Sydney.

The four key topics of this year’s Congress are:

  • Natural Disaster Recovery Funding
  • Road Asset Benchmarking
  • Valuation of Road Assets
  • Sustainable Investment in Road Funding includes Road Safety

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