The 2018/19 budget was prepared by operational staff along with Councilors over the past two months through portfolio meetings and two full budget workshops.
Council has considered carefully the need to maintain strong financial management whilst maintaining services and delivering for community and nominated a rates rise of 3%. This rise is above CPI and is required in order for the Council to maintain a strong position and meet rising costs. The rise will be a modest increase in revenue of $30,999 bringing the total rates revenue to $2,962,820. Additionally the special rate levy for Dog Baiting will be charged this financial year due to lack of funding programs and all the previously collected amounts under this special levy having been expended on this program in 2017/2018 FY.
The Operational budget proposed will see revenue of $21,753,973 and expenditure of $21,162,629 and provide for a positive cash position at 30th June 2018 of $591,344. The operational services of Council have been maintained in their entirety. The allocation for roads maintenance is $1,230,000 and the McKinlay Shire Roads Strategy along with Councilor and Director discussions has been utilized to inform the operational budget in this area. NDRRA 2018 Event has been lodged and a modest $5.2 million has been included from a possible claim of approximately $28 million which is yet to be approved. In relation to strategic planning for future the budget contains a new Community Plan and also Early Years Hub Business Case and Detailed Design covering care for children from babies through to primary school. Both of these planning items are funding dependent which is yet to be approved. In the areas of Economic Development and Tourism newly adopted plans were utilised to inform this part of the budget.
The Capital Works proposed has revenue of $3,310,983 and expenditure of $8,411,787. Projects included are Julia Creek Housing Project, Town Wi-Fi, Julia Creek Sewage Treatment Plant and upgrades to Council infrastructure and plant as detailed in the budget document. Some capital works projects included for which funding is yet to be approved are further works on the McKinlay-Gilliat Road, Innovation Hub and the internal fit out of the Community Events Precinct. The Capital Works program is financially responsible in providing economic and community benefit as well as focusing on renewing assets where possible. Capital expenditure on roads focuses on continuation of new sealing works on the primary network including Neila-Bunda, Gilliat-McKinlay and Punchbowl Roads.
Council is proposing to maintain a strong reserve of $1.4 million dollars allocated as per below:
Roads and Reseal $830,000
Information Technology $230,000
Culverts and Bridges $ 50,000
Water and Sewage $250,000
Overall this budget ensures that good financial management is maintained along with continued capital improvements to primary roads and infrastructure as well as future planning. All services to community are maintained and the rates rise of 3% will ensure sustainability for Council for the coming year. Council will present the adopted 2018/2019 budget during July/ August in meetings across the Shire and through normal community communication channels.
Cr Belinda Murphy - Mayor