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CVC’s improvement strategies cut by $10.9m

Clarence Valley Council’s staff have revised down the numbers projected in a report that initially estimated “improvement strategies” of $17.497million over the next 10 years to 2026/27.
The Morrison and Low Improvement Opportunities report, which was recommended for adoption at the November 30 extraordinary meeting, was among several other improvement strategies, all of which were not adopted at the time.
However, an eight-point plan put forward by Cr Andrew Baker was adopted – the detail and implementation of this plan is currently the subject of a series of councillor workshops in preparation for the council’s draft 2017-18 budget and draft 2017 to 2027 long term financial plan.
At the March council meeting, councillors adopted the revised Morrison and Low report, which now identifies estimated improvement strategies of $6.595million.
The revised figure excluded efficiency savings and improvement opportunities, as estimated on an annual basis at the end of the 10-year period, for the following: Records Scanning Project $65,000; Community Development $12,750; Galleries and Museums $25,000; Community Centres $109,000; Coffs Harbour Waste Opportunity $674,562; Organisation Performance and Governance Structure Review $90,886; Timesheet Improvements $115,208; Depreciation Review $5.376million; and, Operating Grants for Storm and Flood Events $4.48million.
However, a meeting of the council’s managers and directors identified additional savings of $304,601 in operating the new Tourist Information model, and $450,809 in a revised service delivery model for community centres (which is subject to commercial in confidence discussions, the report to council states).
Ongoing savings are flagged as a result of 10 fewer FTE (full time equivalent) employees at the new depot, as a result of CVC’s depot rationalisation; four fewer FTEs from 2021/22 once the new administration building is completed and the current five-year lease at the Victoria Street office expires; and, one fewer FTEs at the Maclean from 2021/22 onwards.
Other proposed savings and efficiency measures
The council currently contracts Australia Post at the annual rate of approximately $70,000 per annum (pa) to act as an agent for the receipt of payments – the Morrison Low report recommends the cessation of this facility when the current contract expires around the end of September 2017.
The report states: “With improvements to online payment options being anticipated it is considered that this contract should not be renewed.
“Assuming this occurs, the efficiency gain is expected to be $52,500 in 2017/18 and then $70,000 pa for each year thereafter.”
The report proposes a 62 per cent increase in DMU charges (development management unit charges for pre-lodgement meetings regarding development applications) from $179 to $300.
The report states that these meetings are “very conservatively valued at $520”.
“Other North Coast Council’s comparative fees vary [from] $315 to $534.”
The engagement of full time parking and footpath dinning and dog registrations officers will add $62,220 to the council’s income in 2017/18 and increase incrementally over the following nine years to realise $91,560 per annum in 2026/27.
“Council is currently missing out on significant income from unpaid footpath dining payments,” the report states.
“We recently put on as a trial a parking officer and animal registrations officer. While this position is working reasonably well it is only casual and as such misses out on required training etc. to complete the range of activities needed.”
Other proposals include increasing sporting field ground usage fees; increasing cemetery fees and charges to achieve full cost recovery; aiming to make a surplus at CVC’s saleyards; and, exploring options to make the airport cost neutral.
The council’s acting general manager and corporate director Ashley Lindsay was unavailable for comment before the Independent’s editorial deadline.