Have your say on City of Parramatta’s future

City of Parramatta Council invites the community to provide feedback on its Draft Operational Plan and Budget 2020/21, part of which will help guide the City’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The plan, known as Year Three of the Delivery Program 2018-2021, details how Council will implement its core services, activities, programs and projects in the next financial year. It also details proposed budgets, fees and charges to support the delivery of these activities.

“Sydney’s Central River City is undergoing a major transformation and Council’s Delivery Program lays out where we need to focus to embrace opportunities and overcome challenges,” City of Parramatta Lord Mayor Cr Bob Dwyer said.

“We encourage the community to provide their feedback on the draft plans. Whether we’re delivering major projects, revitalising local infrastructure or providing high quality programs and services, Council is committed to making the City of Parramatta the best it can be.”

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Council has budgeted $212.4 million towards capital expenditures next financial year to deliver major strategic projects for the community, including the:

· Parramatta Square development
· Aquatic and Leisure Centre in Parramatta Park
· Epping Aquatic Centre redevelopment as part of the Dence Park Masterplan
· Phillip Street Smart Street Stage 1
· Parramatta Urban Amenity Improvement Program
· City River Works Program to revitalise the Parramatta River

In 2020/21, Council is budgeting for an operating deficit of $12.9 million, primarily due to the loss of revenue caused by COVID-19.

In response, Council has identified several immediate and long-term savings measures to ensure its financial viability, including:

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· $14.5 million in operational savings across Council
· $2.2 million from the temporary closure of facilities and cancelled events due to COVID-19
· $10 million reduction in capital expenses
· Redirecting $4 million from Council’s Cultural Fund to deliver key cultural services including Parramatta Artists’ Studios, Riverside Theatres and events

Council anticipates the budget will return to surplus in 2021/22, pending the impact and duration of the pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has been tough for our City. People have lost their jobs and local businesses have been severely impacted,” Cr Dwyer said.

“We responded with a $3 million relief and recovery package to support jobs and businesses, protect rate payers, accelerate shovel-ready projects and ensure our City recovers as quickly as possible.

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“City of Parramatta Council, like most other councils, has also taken a significant financial hit.

“But despite these challenges, our priorities remain unchanged: to ensure our City continues to thrive and to provide the vital infrastructure and services our diverse and growing community needs.”

In 2018, Council developed and adopted a Delivery Program for the three years to 2021, outlining plans and projects to achieve the objectives of the Community Strategic Plan 2018-2038.