Parramatta Council recently published its Delivery Program and Operational Plan for the period 2018 to 2021. They invited comment on this Plan for submission by June 11.
Your Trust has reviewed this plan and is horrified by its lack of balance.
The Plan provides expenditure in three major categories; Operating Programs, Capital Programs, and Renewal and Maintenance Programs. We searched hard for benefits for Epping in each of these categories, but it was only possible to separate expenditures for the Epping Ward for Capital Works. All other regular expenditure (like rubbish collection, park maintenance etc) is aggregated across the whole council area. The only identifiable income in the Plan is the rates from the former Hornsby Council area in East Epping - here Parramatta is collecting $11million a year. So it is fair to estimate that the rates from the whole of Epping Ward totals about $25million annuallly.
What do we get for our money?
In brief, we found Council capital works expenditure for all of the Epping ward for the 2018/9 year would be $2.4million, and the following two years until 2021 added only a further $2.3million. This compares with the council capital expenditure of $151million for the Parramatta Square Development, $74.5million for the new Aquatic Centre in the Parramatta CBD, and the Parramatta Boardwalk Construction of $13.6million. While there is money in the plan for a Dence Park Master Plan, there is no money for any capital works on this park in the three years covered by this budget.
As far as capital works are concerned, the rates and other monies which Parramatta Council collects from Epping residents are being overwhelmingly spent in the Parramatta CBD. Meanwhile, Epping is without even a strategic plan, let alone any of the needed infrastructure improvements such as for libraries, community facilities, carparks, road crossings, plazas and most importantly, additional open space. It appears these must be wheedled out of developers in exchange for excessive tower heights and densities.
The Trust believes that this budget is just not good enough, and should be completely reworked. What do you think?
The Plan can be accessed at Parramatta Delivery and Operational Plan 2018
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: https://eppingcivictrust.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Draft-Three-Year-Delivery-Program-2018_submission.pdf