Council Meeting: 17 May 2023
Published on 18 May 2023
8.2 MAYORAL MINUTE - EMERGENCY SERVICES LEVY
Dungog Shire Council’s Mayor Cr John Connors called on Councillors to support representations to the NSW Government in response to the highly damaging increase in the Emergency Services Levy (ESL) imposed on all councils without warning for the 2023/24 financial year.
The ESL is a cost imposed on councils and insurance policy holders to fund the emergency services budget in NSW. The majority is paid as part of insurance premiums, with a further 11.7% funded by councils and 14.6% by the NSW Government. The ESL represents cost shifting at its worse, as it is imposed on councils without any mechanism for councils to recover costs.
The levy increase for the state’s 128 councils in 2023/24 amounts to almost $77 million, with the total cost imposed on the local government sector increasing from $143 million in the current financial year to $219 million next year. This represents a 53.1% increase, completely dwarfing the IPART baseline rate peg of 3.7% for 2023/24, and Council’s rate increase of 4.4%.
Reporting suggests that the increase in costs this year reflects a 73% increase in the State Emergency Service budget and an 18.5% funding increase to Fire and Rescue NSW. The impact of these large increases on Council's finances will be particularly severe in 2023/24 as a result of the NSW Government deciding to scrap the subsidy for council ESL payments.
8.3 MAYORAL MINUTE - ENFORCEMENT ACTION DUE TO WITHDRAWAL OF DA164/2022 ANIMAL BOARDING AND TRAINING ESTABLISHMENT (DOG BREEDING) 241 FISHERS HILL ROAD, FISHERS HILL
Dungog Shire Council’s Mayor Cr John Connors put forward a mayoral minute highlighting the need to commence enforcement proceedings against the owners of an animal boarding and training facility (dog breeding) business located in Fishers Hill.
The action comes after the owners backed out of a development application (DA164/2022) to legitimise its operations, formally withdrawing the application in the hours prior to last night’s meeting.
The land is currently being used for unauthorised dog breeding and at a Council inspection in November 2022, there were approximately 160 Labradors on site.
Mayor Connors noted the proposed development would be contrary to the various provisions of the Dungog Development Control Plan. It does not comply with the minimum 500m separation distance to neighbouring residential development, there are insufficient measures in place for noise control, drainage, hygiene, and stormwater management.
Mayor Connors reiterated that Council was committed to ensuring all developments in the Shire complied with the relevant laws and regulations, which are in place to protect the environment and the community.
9.4 PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO DUNGOG DEVELOPMENT CONTROL PLAN NO 1 - PART D CHAPTER 9 - CANGON PARK RESIDENTIAL ESTATE
Council adopted proposed amendments to the Dungog Shire Council Development Control Plan (DCP) No 1 Part D Chapter 9 – Cangon Park Rural Residential Estate in relation to controls in place for outbuildings, such as sheds. These amendments include:
- Increasing the maximum area from 100m2 to 150m2
- Retaining the current height limit of 5m
- Clarifying that the combined areas of sheds, carports and outbuilding on each allotment is 15m2
9.6 ADOPTION OF THE 2022-2026 DUNGOG SHIRE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN
The Dungog Shire 2022-2026 Economic Development Plan (EDP) was adopted by Council following positive community engagement with the people of the Shire. The EDP ensures that the Dungog economy is strong, creative, innovative, and sustainable - bringing jobs, business and creative opportunities, and easy access to goods and services to our Shire.
Council would like to thank the members of the advisory group who worked well with council to develop the plan, as well as all the community members and groups who took the time to lodge a submission. The Dungog Shire 2022-2026 Economic Development Plan will shortly be published on our website.
10.2 FIXING COUNTRY BRIDGES PROGRAM UPDATE - MAY 2023
All 23 bridges under the Fixing Country Bridges program have now been tendered and contractors engaged.
At this point in time:
- Seven bridges have been completed,
- Four bridges have been completed with additional roadworks being completed currently,
- Three bridges have commenced construction and construction preparation works,
- Four bridges have completed designs, and
- Five bridges are currently being designed.
Council noted the program of creating improved access and amenity for the community by building these new bridges, which will all be completed by April 2024.
10.5 DRAFT DUNGOG SHIRE - OPEN SPACE & RECREATIONAL PLAN
Council reviewed the updates made to the Draft Dungog Shire – Open Space & Recreation Plan and will now place the document on public exhibition for 28 days.
The 10-year Open Space and Recreation Plan essentially guides the planning and development of public open space, sport and recreation facilities throughout the Dungog Shire. It is clear that extensive engagement with sporting and recreational groups, including the Dungog Common, has taken place in order to prepare the draft documents ready for exhibition.
Sport and recreation are an important part of the Dungog Shire lifestyle, and the Plan is informed by a strong understanding of community needs and priorities for the future.
Councillors also put a motion forward that Councillors hold a workshop to review the community submissions, prior to finalising the Plan.
Anyone wishing to review the Open Space & Recreation Plan is encouraged to visit the Dungog Shire Council website and lodge a submission online.
12.4 PUBLIC EXHIBITION OF DRAFT OPERATIONAL PLAN AND BUDGET 2023-24
Council have reviewed the Draft Operational Plan and Budget 2023-24, which is now on public exhibition for the next 28 days.
Some highlights from the plan include:
- $42.4M capital works program
- Increased Emergency Services Levy to 36% of the expected increase in Council’s rate peg income.
- The final year of the IPART approved special rate variation
Anyone wishing to review the Draft Operational Plan and Budget 2023-24 is encouraged to visit the Dungog Shire Council website and consider lodging a submission online.
16.1 CLOSED COUNCIL: DURHAM ROAD REHABILITATION
In a closed session, Council resolved to reject the tenders put forward for the rehabilitation, however endorsed the General Manager to negotiate with the preferred tenderer with a view to entering into a contract to deliver the project.