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

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Rod Kil­ner

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

Pic­ture: ANGELIQUE PAT­TER­SON

UP TO THE TASK: Jeff Tate is ready to roll up his shirt sleeves

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