Cr Lisa IntemannTHIS week councillors were given a first run-through of the proposed council budget for 2015-2016.
There will be several workshops with councillors before the proposed budget is put on public exhibition in March.
Once it goes on public exhibition, residents can seek more information and make comments for the consideration of councillors and staff before the final budget is adopted, usually at the June council meeting.
The proposed budget concerns the approximately $75 million in income from rates, plus any grants associated with a particular expenditure, as well as any use of council reserve funds.
Realising that everything I say here concerns the draft budget and is not set in concrete, an indication of the breakdown shows $41 million is proposed for normal council operations, and $56 million for new works.
Normal operations include: Parks and Gardens, Library, Lifeguards, Noxious Weed control, Animal control, Airport, Crematorium, Glasshouse, Swimming pools, Sporting Grounds, Rangers and compliance, Environmental protection, Economic Development, Strategic Land Use, Ferries, Stormwater, Drainage, Roads, Bridges, Bushfire control, SES and Fire Brigade contributions, Customer Service, IT, Insurance, Asset Maintenance and Administration.
Add to that list Waste, Water and Sewer, although they are managed under separate rates and funds.
Proposed new works are for upgrades to specific assets, such as specific parks and roads – for instance, $1.2 million for upgrading Comboyne Road and $7 million for upgrading Houston Mitchell Drive.
In addition to the proposed budget, staff and councillors have indicated a wish list of new works and items totalling $7M, which includes: $800,000 to the upgrade of Wauchope pool (in excess of the pool reserve), $1.5M to the Port Indoor Stadium expansion (in excess of grant funding), an extra $1M to stormwater management (both culvert cleaning and new culverts), and extra $1M to road maintenance.
Councillors will now go away and study the proposed budget, providing comments to staff before our next budget workshop in early February.
There are always criticisms of council’s budget, but none can deny the tightrope which council must walk with all the competing demands.
Contact me if you are interested in the detail of the proposed budget.
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