Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Cairns Council Budget

The Cairns Regional Council 2013 - 2014 Budget has been released.

A balanced budget featuring a $132.5 million capital works program, a modest 3.69 per cent rise in general rates and a $3.6 million reduction in debt was handed down today by Cairns Mayor Bob Manning. 
In announcing the $297.5 million operating budget, Cr Manning said Cairns Regional Council had identified efficiencies and savings across the organisation to be able to present a balanced budget for the 2013-14 financial year. 
This represented a significant turnaround from the $6.6 million deficit in 2012-13, he said. 
A modest increase of 3.69 per cent in the general rate yield and a 4 per cent increase in fees and charges have been applied to meet increases in the cost of delivering core Council services. 
"We recognise the financial pressures now being experienced by the community and imposts on the cost of living of local ratepayers. In response, we have limited rate increases to a minimum," Cr Manning said. 
"This means that 97 per cent of ratepayers will receive a general rate increase of less than 4 per cent. Our cost base has been adjusted through a concerted effort to identify savings and efficiencies to lower our cost of operations to levels that can be sustainably funded. 
"We will balance these initiatives against a determination to maintain our frontline services to the community and we will continually challenge our traditional ways of doing business and how we deliver our projects and services. The scrutiny placed on how we do business will be ongoing. We will maintain flexibility that will allow us to respond to changing conditions." 
A $132.5 million capital works program includes $46 million in water and waste operations, $59 million on transport and drainage and $17 million on community, sport and cultural facilities. 
Council debt is expected to be reduced by $3.6 million to $85.2 million in the budget year. This equates to $1062 per ratepayer, down from $1111. Cash assets of $66 million are planned at year end.

While rates and charges have been increased 4% the rate for strata units has been frozen at last years level. With the minimum rate also increased by 4% that doesn't really address the structural problem which results in many anomalies between strata properties. An ongoing project and will now have to update spreadsheets on that.

Detailed budget papers are available here: http://cairns.qld.gov.au/about-council/meetings/special-meetings/past-meetings/25-jun-2013

BTW: When it comes to strata rates the decision by Gold Coast to reverse what was the best and only evidence based policy is lamentable: High rise 'view tax' out the window. A subject for a later post when I finally complete my own report.

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