- Friday 23 April 2010
Sunshine Coast Council continued its preparation for the forthcoming 2010/2011 budget with discussions on general rates, levies and capital held at today’s special budget meeting.
Council’s Finance Management Portfolio Councillor, Chris Thompson said that current financial times called for council, like any other business, to review its core business and how it can do it better and more effectively.
“Times are tough and we are doing everything to get the right balance but within the current environment, there is always another challenge,” Cr Thompson said.
“Just last week alone, despite all our measures to successfully reduce the organisation’s operating costs within this current financial year, we were informed by the state government that support for amalgamation costs would not be forthcoming - this alone puts us $13 million behind,” he said.
“In addition, we are still uncertain about the revenue streams from Unitywater for the next financial year.
”Despite these impacts, council is performing well and is viewed as being in a strong financial position by the state government - we were rated as a better performing council during a recent, independent evaluation process.
“With these impacts in mind, council today discussed the general structure of the revenue statement for the next financial year.
“While the discussions did not include specific increases in rates and charges for 2010/2011, we did look to see where and how we can absorb cost increases and keep any increases within our long term financial model.
“Today’s discussion was vital to determine differential general rates, discounts, pensioner remissions and both special and separate levies in coming weeks.
“Council intends to maintain the existing differential general rates structure and policy for the 2010/2011 financial year and reduce the timely payment discount to 5% to a maximum of $200 a year.”
“At present though, council is undecided on actual final rates increases and further reports will be presented to council prior to the adoption of the final revenue statement.”
“With employee costs, managing our assets and continual increases to general costs such as gas, electricity and fuel, the increase could be in excess of 10 per cent; however, council will not accept this and is looking at how we can absorb costs,” he said.
“We will continue to develop the budget based on a 6.9% general rate increase which is within the parameters set by our long term financial model.
“We will be reviewing levies as they are the most transparent way to raise funds for key priorities such as transport and the environment.
“Separately though, council today supported a $5 heritage levy on all rateable land across the region with the amount to be reviewed within the 2011/2012 year.
“In addition, within the organisation further initiatives are underway to assess the efficiency of council services, while building the capacity of the organisation to ensure that we are equipped to succeed in a sustainable way.”
The 2010/2011 Budget will be announced on Tuesday 29 June 2010 at 9am.