Ax­ing of merg­ers means bud­get re­think

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News -

MERGER can­cel­la­tion has prompted a long-term spend­ing plan to be re­viewed and pos­si­bly rewrit­ten be­fore the 201516 bud­get is adopted at Mos­man Park Coun­cil.

“We need to de­ter­mine whether our strate­gic ob­jec­tives re­main the same, or change is needed with pos­si­ble new or dif­fer­ent pri­or­i­ties,” Mayor Ron Nor­ris said.

A rates rise of 1 per cent gen­er­ates about $75,000 for the coun­cil and Mr Nor­ris said that if the Gov­ern­ment reversed its po­si­tion not to re­pay about $500,000 Mos­man Park spent on plan­ning for merg­ers the coun­cil’s bud­get would be fixed “with a flash”.

In an­tic­i­pa­tion of merg­ers, the coun­cil de­pleted its re­serves to spend on main­te­nance for com­mu­nity as­sets, in­clud­ing parks’ pavil­ions, af­ter limited sup­port among coun­cil­lors to greatly in­crease rates to pay for the work.

At last month’s meet­ing, it was agreed chief ex­ec­u­tive Kevin Poyn­ton re­view the coun­cil’s longterm Cor­po­rate Busi­ness Plan that out­lines planned spend­ing and rec­om­mend sav­ings be­fore bud­get talks start in April.

Coun­cil­lors di­rected Mr Poyn­ton to­wards “stream­lin­ing” the coun­cil, its op­er­a­tions, “tighter” pro­cure­ment and a re­view of its dis­cre­tionary spend­ing to keep any rates rise within a range that could pay for the changes.

Cr Ian Flack said the only “read­ily avail­able” source of in­come was rais­ing rates “sig­nif­i­cantly”, which he and some other coun­cil­lors op­posed.

Cr Flack said pre­vi­ous bud­gets had been “propped up by the near ex­haus­tion of re­serves for cap­i­tal and op­er­a­tions”, leav­ing a $12,472 in­fra­struc­ture re­serve in 2014-15 and Mos­man Park spent $4.28 mil­lion on staff when neigh­bour­ing, sim­i­lar-sized Cottes­loe Coun­cil spent $3.67 mil­lion.

“Mos­man Park is close to the Depart­ment of Trea­sury limit for bor­row­ings,” he said.

Mr Nor­ris said staff would al­ways be re­quired for es­sen­tial plan­ning, build­ing and emer­gency ser­vices, and “noth­ing will im­pact them”.

“In my opin­ion, if the coun­cil sets about re­build­ing its in­fra­struc­ture re­serve it would con­sider a rates rise of 2-3 per cent in ad­di­tion to any other rises, but there ap­pears to be lit­tle sup­port for that,” he said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.