Alpine Shire Council takes unprecedented budget approach

12 June, 2014

ALPINE Shire Council has released an unprecedented budget for public comment, with a commitment to cut $1million – $1.5million from its operations without impacting on the delivery of services that the community currently enjoys.

Council has directed Chief Executive Officer Dave Barry to make the recurrent savings in a bid to secure the long-term sustainability of the organisation.

With the majority of savings likely to come from reduced wage costs, this represents a substantial ongoing saving on Council’s annual $11 million wage bill.

Mayor Peter Roper said the move demonstrated Council’s commitment to significantly cutting costs and increasing efficiencies.

“All small Councils are facing ever-increasing financial challenges - we want to show very clearly to our ratepayers that we are committed to change by becoming more efficient and only relying on rates increases as an approach of last resort,” he said.

“While these changes will have a direct impact on staff, we are extremely fortune to have a skilled workforce that are committed to their communities and recognise that we, like most Councils, need to change how we do business and deliver services to our communities at lower costs.”

Chief Executive Officer Dave Barry said Council has broken the mould in releasing this budget, placing the same pressure on the organisation as you would expect to see in private enterprise.

“Council has issued a clear direction that the savings are to be used to minimise future rate rises and deliver key community infrastructure,” he said.

“Since coming into the role six months ago I have seen consistent recognition from Council and staff that we can do things better, faster and more cost-effectively by reducing red tape, using technology and focusing on what really matters.

“Over the last six months Council has been conducting a root and branch review of every element of our business - this will enable us to make the $1million to $1.5million saving by Council’s deadline of December 31, 2014.

“I am not aware of any rural Victorian Council taking such proactive steps in addressing the reality that, like any modern Council, we cannot continue to let rates rise when we have the capacity to deliver the same core services at a lower cost.”

“The average ratepayer will see an increase in their rates of around 4.54%, which equates to approximately $72 per year for the average residential ratepayer,” he said.

“In the current climate of reduced State and Federal government funding and other challenges impacting on our viability, responsible financial management and planning for the future is essential.

“This budget is underpinned by a commitment to long-term financial sustainability, coupled with the continued provision of services and infrastructure that are essential to a thriving community.”

Council has adopted a new layout for the presentation of this year’s budget which facilitates increased transparency and provides ratepayers with more information than has been presented in previous years.

The draft budget is now on public exhibition and available here.

“We encourage residents to have a look and provide feedback,” Cr Roper said.

This year has been a valuation year, so residents may notice some variation in their property values.


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