Where is the money
A massive task is set for Jeff Tate to discover what CRC did with all the money taken from DSC in the amalgamation
TRANSITION manager Jeff Tate will face a herculean task of fine tuning the inaugural budget for the new Douglas Shire Council.
Mr Tate won’t know how much money the de-amalgamated council will have ‘‘in the bank’’ until late November.
That will give him just one month, including Christmas, to draw up a sixmonth budget for the new council, which takes over on January 1.
While more than $24 million was transferred to the Cairns Regional Council on amalgamation, Mr Tate said it’s a mammoth task to work out what the new council will receive.
‘‘Eight people are involved in a joint exercise between CRC and us, analysing the annual $300 million Cairns budget over the years since amalgamation,’’ he said.
‘‘ Revenue streams – where the money’s come from – have to be identified, as well as where the money has actually been spent.
‘‘ Some people probably don’t realise that what money we finish up with to fund the new council is based on these calculations of the CRC budget.’’
Just what that figure will be will determine not only the budget, but will have a roll-on effect on other areas of council.
In terms of employment in the new council, the Cairns Regional Council CEO has the authority to transfer between 135 and 165 positions to the Douglas Council.
Mr Tate said he was still waiting for the CRC to compile a list of people to be transferred.
‘‘The model I’ve established for staffing is just under 140, slighlty down on the pre-amalgamation figure of 150,’’ he said.
‘‘The big issue is to ensure we have a viable council, and we’re aiming to get the best value for our money.’’
While the big money picture remains up in the air, other areas of preparation are progressing well.
The IT area is well advanced, essentially using the same system as the CRC, that covers areas such as billing, rates, water, sewerage, property records and so on, while data storage will be kept offsite through cloud.
The Disaster Management Group will meet early next month, incorporating some training.
To keep residents up to date with developments for the new council, a website has been l aunched: www.douglas.qld.gov.au
UP TO THE TASK: Jeff Tate is ready to roll up his shirt sleeves