LATEST NEWS FROM MAYOR KATHY SAJOWITZ - THURSDAY 25 JUNE 2020

Every year the NSW Government through the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal set the allowable rate increase for councils. The 2020/21 designated increase has been set at 2.6%. For Oberon this means an approximate increase in revenue of $110,000. It is interesting to consider that employee wage costs which are set under a State Award are forecast to rise by a similar amount, utility and other external costs have been forecast to rise by the CPI which for this financial year is 1.3%. Council’s general fees and charges are also proposed to increase by this amount. Water and sewer rates are proposed to increase by 1.3% this will ensure these areas of council operations are sustainable, all monies collected through these rates goes directly into the water and sewer funds to ensure plant and delivery levels are maintained. Cognisant of the difficulties experienced by the community over recent time through drought, fire and COVID, Council is looking for ways to assist Oberon residents; one possibility is the option to implement rate relief for the coming financial year. One way to achieve this could be to waive all or part of the recommended 2.6% rate increase or not pass on the 1.3% increase in fees and charges. Unfortunately there are repercussions no matter what option for rate relief - if any, is decided upon. Services still have to be delivered to an acceptable level; staffing levels need to be maintained to deliver these services. As a further option, the Office of Local Government has advised that as a “one off” scenario forgone rates can be recouped by adding the forgone percentage to future increases – is this ideal….maybe not! A bit like “buy now – pay later”. Please read the options put forward for consideration by staff in the Operational Plan and Delivery Program currently on public exhibition, these documents can be viewed online, at council admin and at the Oberon Library. Your feedback is appreciated. Council staff have been requested by council to identify efficiency savings, this information will be presented for consideration at the July Ordinary Council Meeting. 

As you will read on this page, the way we talk with the community about the 2020/21 documents this year has been impacted by COVID restrictions, as the number of people attending public meetings is restricted it has been decided to conduct ZOOM sessions which residents can link into on Monday June 29 2020. For residents without a computer; access will be available at the library. Any questions or queries you may need addressed can be answered by contacting your councillors or the General Manager. This is not the preferred method of consulting with our community – we would rather do this face to face but we need to be innovative in these unusual times. Current social distancing guidelines and NSW Health Orders are applicable. 

From July 1 the restriction on the number of passengers that can travel on regional public transport services will be eased. On Train link services the numbers will rise from sixteen to thirty four passengers per carriage, for coaches the number will increase from twelve to twenty two passengers. 

Maintenance grading has been completed on Schumacher’s Road, Horseshoe Bend, Sloggetts Lane and Beaconsfield Road. Culvert cleaning has been completed on Snake Valley Road whilst replacement pipes have been installed on Bolton Lane. Tree mulching and clearing of vegetation has been carried out on Burraga Road, Lowes Mount Roads and Reserve Avenue Black Springs. Pothole patching has been completed on Mozart, O’Connell, and Duckmaloi Roads.