City Of Newcastle will continue the city's infrastructure renewal and revitalisation under a sustainable new budget adopted at last night's ordinary general meeting.
The 2017/18 delivery program and operational plan features a record $90.3 million program of projects focused mainly on addressing the city's infrastructure backlog.
A predicted operating surplus of $4.8 million, together with reserves generated in previous years, will help maintain the city's transformative works program and help inform a new long-term strategic plan.
"Over the past two-and-a-half years, Council has delivered significant results for Newcastle," Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.
"We have turned around the city’s finances while doubling our infrastructure spend and substantially reduced the infrastructure backlog which we're now whittling away even faster by accelerating our city centre works as part of the Newcastle 500 event.
"The progress will continue under the 2017/18 operational plan as we remain committed to open and collaborative leadership and consolidating council's well-earned financially sustainable status."
Interim CEO Jeremy Bath said the 2017/18 budget included the delivery of new assets and city-wide renewal.
"We will focus on our priority projects of city centre and coastal revitalisation, cycleways and improvements at Blackbutt in a prudent manner to ensure another operating surplus," he said.
"Our hard-working staff are focused on delivering better facilities and services for rate payers in a fiscally responsible manner in line with staffing capacity and our long-term financial plan.
"Council aims to achieve a sustainable infrastructure backlog by 2022 after reducing it from $117 million in 2011 to $99 million last year and scheduling eight years or $8.8 million of civil works in Newcastle East in the five months leading up to the inaugural Supercars event."
Council has also prioritised upgrades in the city’s western suburbs through flood-mitigation improvements in Wallsend and road and public space improvements across other suburbs.
Local and neighbourhood centres are also up for renewal through a widespread public domain improvement program of better footpaths, street furniture, trees and cycleway links.
Highlights of the 2017/18 budget include:
- $18.8 million of works renewing our buildings, structures and places including $6.7 million for parks and sporting facilities
- $19.6 million on renewing roads including a $9 million civil works program to upgrade infrastructure in Newcastle East
- $10.7 million on renewing the existing storm water network
- $15.0 million on upgrading existing assets and creating new ones
- $10.7 million on non-infrastructure projects
- $4.4 million revitalising the coast
- $2.4 million on increasing cycling links around the city