Council recently advised that it had achieved:
- A budget surplus of $1.409M
- Annual rates in line with the Special Rate Variation
- A reduction in commercial waste collection fees of $74 from $812 to $738 based on an Australian Tax Office GST ruling
- Domestic Waste Service charge to remain at the 2015/2016 level of $515 per annum
- Fees and Charges to increase, where appropriate, by a minimum of 2.5%
- Spend of $26.323M on project and capital works
- Working Funds remaining at a minimum level of $1M (last reported in March 2016 as a projected $3.431M at 30 June 2016)
- The estimated Full Time Equivalent (FTE) employee number at 1 July 2016 is 409.7 (down 19.7 FTE or 4.5% on the FTE number of 429.4 on 1 July 2015)
We might be inclined to shout ‘hurrah’, Council has made money. However, Council’s are not in the business of making money. They are in the business of efficiently and effectively spending the money the raise on behalf of residents and ratepayers. This is in the form of services provided to their residents and ratepayers.
It is pretty clear where most of the budget surplus has been derived – a reduction of staff by 20 officers. The Council has mentioned that these were mainly ‘middle management’ positions and that services provided will not suffer.
We (and Council) need to be vigilant on two fronts:
- Ensuring the budget ‘surplus’ is appropriately spent.
- Ensuring services provided by Council are not eroded
If you know of any instance where a Council services has been withdrawn or downgraded, please leave a comment or contact the Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org