Mayor predicts tough times for council

SHOALHAVEN Mayor Joanna Gash has described last week’s budget as very difficult for everyone, particularly for Shoalhaven City Council.

“It’s a mixed bag of positive and negative impacts for the Shoalhaven,” she said.

“We all have to play our part. I think for some upcoming projects we will have to apply for extra funding and that will put a lot of pressure on our federal member to apply for those projects.”

In a mayoral minute tabled at Tuesday’s council meeting, Cr Gash said a freeze on the amount of funding council received from the Financial Assistance Grants would have significant and immediate impact with a reduction in works programs or capital works.

“It is estimated the Shoalhaven will have a reduction in funding of $433,278 in 2014-15; $349,534 in 2015-16 and $360,020 in 2016-17,” she said.

“That is a significant reduction and we will have to look where else we can make use of funding – things like the $350 million for the Roads to Recovery Program, the $200 million Black Spot Program and the $300 million Bridges Renewal Program.”

She said the city could also possibly gain funds from the National Stronger Regions Fund, where councils and community groups can apply for grants between $20,000 and $10 million to meet up to half the cost of community building projects that improve infrastructure, economy and quality of life in regional and local communities. 

Cr Gash presented a number of other budget implications for the city in the mayoral minute including the impact from the fuel levy on increasing costs for operations due to the size and geographical spread of the Shoalhaven.

Specific federal projects of interest to the Shoalhaven include road safety upgrades as part of the $5 million Gilmore Safety Package, $10.8 million Maldon to Dombarton Rail Link design, $42 million Mt Ousley upgrade and $10 million for planning an additional crossing of the Shoalhaven River.

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