Reinforcing the Mitchell Street seawall at Stockton Beach, improving stormwater infrastructure and completing a five-megawatt solar farm are among projects to benefit from a multimillion-dollar boost to City of Newcastle’s current works program.
The latest quarterly financial update, which was presented to the elected Council last night for approval, reveals an additional $3.9 million for public works in the 2019-20 budget, with spending spread across a range of infrastructure and asset renewal programs.
Reflecting the City’s sound financial position, an $8 million operating surplus is forecast to be delivered at the end of the financial year.
“We remain on track to deliver our seventh consecutive budget surplus while continuing to invest in the infrastructure renewal and revitalisation projects required that come with the sustained population growth our City is now experiencing,” City of Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.
“The past four years have seen a sustained increase in our investment in capital works, including last year’s record program of $91.9 million, which included $65.6 million on new infrastructure.
“This surpassed our previous benchmark for capital investment, and was achieved while remaining focused on being financially sustainable now and into the future,” she said.
With design of the City’s organic waste processing facility underway ahead of construction later this year, the capital works budget will grow to $84.8 million, up from $80.9 million adopted by Council in June.
Included as part of the revised spend is $1.2m for maintenance of Stockton’s Mitchell Street seawall, $2m to complete City Hall’s external restoration and $1m to finish construction of the region’s largest solar farm, which will begin operation at Summerhill Waste Management Centre before the end of the year.
Almost $1.5 million in additional expenditure is forecast for improvements to the City’s stormwater infrastructure, while local roads will also benefit with an additional $665,000 for works including road rehabilitation and footpaths.
Pedestrian infrastructure projects will be boosted by $767,000, while spending on parks and sporting facilities will increase by $741,000 to a budget of $2.2 million.
The September quarterly review forecasts a budget surplus of 2.5% of income. Helping deliver the increase in the works program is a $1.42m reduction in forecast employee costs. Recent reductions in interest rates will cost the City an expected $156,000.
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