The Parkes Shire Council will be building up its reserves over the next two years for future projects as set out in the draft Operational Budget and Plan for 2020-21.
“Over the past five years, there has been over $195 million in assets constructed which is probably the biggest build over a five-year period that Council has ever done,” said Parkes Shire General Manager, Kent Boyd at the May Council meeting last week.
“We have done that with the assistance of substantial grants, but it’s now time to exercise a little bit of moderation to build our finances back up for the next term of council.”
Kent said the focus was on completing the projects that were currently going. “We want to finish those off and start to strengthen our reserve balance.”
The draft operational budget and plan will go on public exhibition after it was adopted by Councillors last Tuesday.
“It is a difficult year for a lot of people. We currently have a two-stream economy running in the Shire. People involved in the construction, mining and agricultural industries are thriving, while our hospitality and retail sector have felt the full impact of COVID-19,” said Parkes Shire Mayor, Cr Ken Keith OAM.
He made special mention that over 50% of the budget would go towards roads, rates and sewer across the Shire, ensuring that service delivery to the community continues to be priority.
Councillors Alan Ward and Neil Westcott both commented on the tough times continuing on from the effects of the ongoing drought, and hardships in front of us because of COVID-19.
“We must now buckle down to make sure we do everything we can to support our ratepayers during this time of hardship,” said Alan.
The Mayor reminded residents to contact Council’s Finance Team for a confidential discussion if they were experiencing hardship in paying rates.