Parramatta Council recently published its draft Operational Plan and Budget for 2019-2020. They invited comment on this Plan for submission by May 29th.
The Trust has reviewed this plan and has many concerns with the proposed Capital Expenditure component.
All other regular expenditure (like rubbish collection, park maintenance etc) is aggregated across the whole council area so we presume services will be maintained. But with the growth in Epping, capital investment is vital. This can take a number of years to be realised - so one would expect (following the huge increase in Epping's population) to start seeing studies and planning for bigger projects to be featuring in this budget. But with the exception of the Master Plan for Dence Park, it is noticeably absent.
The Council is going to spend more than $200 million in capital expenditure across the entire council area next year. By our analysis, only $5 million of this will be in Epping Ward. There is probably a bit more in projects which we can't identify specifically as for Epping, but even allowing for that, you get the sense that the ward is missing out on the notable projects that it needs. In addition, we calculate that Epping contributes well in excess of $20 million a year in rates - so where is that money being spent? It looks like it is going to big projects in the Parramatta CBD.
In addition, the Trust would like to see Council start to deliver on their plan to spend the developer contributions raised by the new buildings in Epping. This is called the S94 plan, and was passed by council in December 2017. But there is little evidence of these projects in this budget.
The Trust urges local residents to make a submission to Council and tell them what you think of your rates not being spent in the urgent work needed in Epping. See box of info on how to make a submission.
You can read the Trust's submission here