Mayor Liz Campbell

From the Mayor's desk
Week commencing 17 September 2018Mayor Liz Campbell

Managing grant funding expectations

The current political climate and sale of public assets means we are seeing unprecedented grant funding opportunities being presented to Councils throughout NSW. There are great benefits from financial support from other levels of government certainly, but it does present challenges, particularly for smaller Councils.

Many funding applications require detailed plans and business cases and have strict delivery timelines as part of the criteria. This places a burden on Council’s physical ability to have our identified plans and community visions slotted into “shovel-ready” applications.

The Delivery Program for 2017-2021, developed and adopted by this current term of Council, lists several priority projects that have been identified to seek grant funding for. Having these priorities documented and part of the public exhibition process for future planning is one step in building a strong application.

One Delivery Program action states to investigate funding to seal Point Plomer Road. Council Staff have recently been working with a consultant to develop a business case for a possible grant application to the NSW Government’s Regional Growth Environment and Tourism Fund.

While being aware that there are a range of views on the future of this road, at present maintenance grading is carried out at least four times a year and the high traffic volumes mean resheeting or adding gravel on top is required regularly. Currently this work is an overall annual cost to Council’s maintenance budget in excess of $170,000

Safety is also a consideration and there have been several accidents on the gravel section of Point Plomer Road in recent years. This grant offers the potential for the rare opportunity to have the road sealed, made safe, and at minimal cost to the community.

As with many grant applications it will be months before we know the outcome and if successful there will be a minimum contribution expected from Council. This would then ultimately bring the decision back to the Council chambers. It means there are further opportunities for Councillors to consider a range of community opinions and long term benefits to the Kempsey Shire.

The complex challenge for this term of Council is to balance unprecedented opportunities for grant funding against the impact on community priorities, road safety and Council’s capacity to deliver.

Cover of Delivery Program 2017-2021