Lake Macquarie City Council will spend $280 million next financial year – a record for the local government area.
The city’s 2018/19 operating plan includes $100 million worth of capital works for projects including Belmont Baths, Pelican Boat Ramp, Charlestown Skate Park and the completion of Pasterfield Sports Complex at Cameron Park.
The council budget has earmarked $31 million for road work, $9 million for traffic improvement measures, $5 million to upgrade sporting facilities, $4 million for parks and playgrounds and $50 million to improve or maintain community buildings.
Mayor Kay Fraser said roads and recreation were “the big beneficiaries” of the latest budget.
“The size of the budget reflects the growth of Lake Macquarie, with more than 205,000 people now calling the city home,” she said.
Councillors approved the budget at Monday night’s meeting, with several additions to the original plan following public exhibition and an internal review.
Among the changes, council will spend almost $4 million to replace 6941 “ageing and inefficient” street lights in the next three years.
According to the budget, $1.74 million has been earmarked to replace existing lights with LEDs in 2018/19, with a forecast $994,000 allocated in each of the following two financial years.
“As a result of this investment, funded by loans, operational costs (both electricity usage and maintenance) are reduced significantly over the life of the lights,” said a staff report tabled for councillors.
“Consequently, this program offers a good return on the initial investment, and an improvement to operating results in the forward years of the Long Term Financial Plan.”
The Newcastle Herald reported on Monday other late changes to the 2018/19 budget included $50,000 for unexpected community events following May’s A-League grand final – for which council planned a last minute public screening at Speers Point Park – and $200,000 to combat vandalism at Charlestown Oval.
It also included $1.25 million for planning, environmental, heritage and traffic studies for possible – but unspecified – council property developments at Belmont, Warners Bay, Booragul and Charlestown.
Toronto Foreshore was also a late inclusion in the budget, with $80,000 added to develop a new masterplan for the site.
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