January Council Meeting

Published on 30 January 2024

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Upper Hunter Shire Council's January Council meeting, marked significant progress in community development and financial planning.

Council approved Development Application for establishing a community nursery at Lots 236 and 237 DP 750942, Hacketts Road, Merriwa. This decision paves the way for the creation of a nursery to support ‘Merriwa Greenthumbs’ which is affiliated with Merriwa Landcare. This project aligns with Council's goals of fostering community engagement and environmental sustainability.

In a move towards financial stability, Council also indicated its intention to notify the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) of a proposed Special Rate Variation (SRV) for the 2025/2026 financial year. This step comes as part of Council's ongoing efforts to address a trend of negative operating results and the need for a more sustainable financial model. The SRV, which has been communicated in previous community presentations, is seen as a necessary measure to ensure continued high-quality services and infrastructure maintenance.

Council will explore several models for the SRV and will engage in extensive community consultation before making a final decision.

Additionally, Council endorsed a draft planning agreement for the Goulburn River Solar Farm Project. This agreement between Upper Hunter Shire Council and Goulburn River Fund Pty Ltd includes contributions towards a community enhancement fund and a road maintenance fund, as well as significant infrastructure improvements like the sealing and widening of 4.7km of Wollara Road. This project represents a strategic collaboration to harness renewable energy while contributing positively to the local community and infrastructure.