Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) set the annual rate increase for 2016/17 at only 1.8%. This means that increases in the general income local councils could earn from rate collection would be capped at 1.8%. However CPI increases across services such as wages, electricity, telephone, insurance etc are substantially above that. Oberon Council sought and was granted a special rate variation earlier this year (which included the predicted annual rate pegging amount of 2.5%) to assist with the reduction of infrastructure backlog, the fact that we will be now be making up the shortfall between income and expenses will somewhat reduce any benefit gained. The main component of council’s general income is rates revenue, but also includes some user fees and charges. Annual rate pegging does not include stormwater, waste collection, water and sewerage charges. IPART is required to set the rate peg each year under delegation from the NSW Minister”
I would assume that Premier Baird will announce the recommendations in relation to council mergers this week. The premier committed to advising councils by the end of the year.
I attended a Chifley Local Command Meeting in Blayney last week and was pleased to be advised that overall crime rates in the region are declining. Oberon statistics were low across the board; the ICE problem is a concern right across the Chifley Command with an increase in related incidents over the past two years. It has been recognised that you cannot arrest your way out of this problem so the best approach is education and as such we will be pursuing how we as a council can assist with community information initiatives in the New Year. Oberon has been allocated an extra officer bringing the staff allocation to five; the position is currently being advertised.
The Annual Report is now available for viewing either online through Council webpage, at the Library or at the Council Admin Building.
It was good to hear that Oberon was successful through the NSW Govt. Community Building Partnerships Program, in securing funding for three local projects.
I am pursuing through the Minister an initiative to bring an Opal card purchase/top up outlet to either Oberon or Mt Victoria. The closest facility for purchase at the moment is Bathurst. Paper tickets for travel on public transport will no longer be available from January 2016.
It was a very pleasant afternoon at the Fish River Festival in O’Connell on Sunday, great entertainment, stalls and food.
I am pleased to announce that Oberon’s 2016 Australia Day Ambassador is Bob Turner. Bob has had a long association with the Sydney Kings Basketball Team in the role of both coach and manager. Bob is now developing his project BBall 4 All, a not for profit company to develop healthy, work ready youth with a primary focus on the less advantaged. He has also joined forces with one of his other sporting passions baseball, in building the profile and acceptance of the Australian Baseball League. We look forward to welcoming Bob to Oberon in January.
The Main Street looks very festive with window art and displays; it’s starting to feel like Christmas. Don’t forget for those last minute gifts consider “Shop Local Vouchers” available from OBTA.
Only 8 more sleeps till Santa........
Mayor Kathy Sajowitz