Lake Macquarie council approves revised $355m budget for 2019/20, recommended councillor pay rise

Lake Macquarie City Council has adopted a $355 million budget and operational plan for the next financial year, along with a revised four-year delivery program.

Councillors voted 9-2 to adopt the record-breaking budget - the most ever spent by the council - at Monday night's ordinary meeting.

The council is set to spend close to $99 million on works projects across the city in the next 12 months.

"Roads and cultural facilities are the big beneficiaries," Lake Macquarie mayor Kay Fraser said after the meeting.

"Construction of Speers Point and Wangi Wangi jetties, new shared pathway between Fernleigh Track and Kahibah, and completion of the upgraded Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery at Booragul are among the ... capital works projects.

"Other features of the operational plan include a budget of $42.8 million for roadworks, traffic and improvements such as speed bumps and school crossings, $19 million to improve community buildings and $34 million for maintenance."

The 2019/20 budget and operational plan, revised four-year delivery program and annual fees and charges were exhibited for 30 days over the past two months.

The council received 90 submissions from 70 respondents about the documents with key themes the Toronto Foreshore master plan and Bath Street development, works to community and recreation facilities like Douglass Street Oval in Dora Creek and Cardiff South Ulinga Oval, and the amount of street trees, footpaths and cycleways.

As a result of the feedback and an internal review, there were a number of changes to the 2019-20 budget.

The emergency services levy, which the council pays to the state government each year, increased by about $400,000 annually. The increase is to ensure emergency service workers have sufficient entitlements.

Half of the 2019/20 financial assistance grant from the federal government will be received in advance in 2018/19, reducing the income by $7.9 million.

Ongoing negotiations with stakeholders about Munibung Road have deferred the timing of the project into the 2019-20 budget, an addition of $4.9 million for the year.

The base residential rate, which makes up half the rate notice, will rise to $730 from $713 as planned.

Liberal councillors Kevin Baker and Jason Pauling voted against the budget, plan and delivery program, but indicated they supported majority of the documents.

Counillors also unanimously voted to adopt a recommended 2.5 per cent increase to the mayoral allowance and councillor fees.

The NSW government's Local Government Remuneration Tribunal had determined the increase.

Each councillor will now earn $30,410 per year, up from $29,670.

The mayor will earn $119,010, up from $116,110 in 2018/19.

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