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Councillor Column – 19 September 2022

Sep 19, 2022

For Immediate Release 19 September 2022
Authorised by Deputy Mayor Alison Foreman

As Hilltops awaits the warm spring air to sweep through and dry out our towns and villages there is an undertone of confidence and excitement. The confidence comes from an extremely pleasing result in our financial position for the 2021/22 financial year, with Council voting to refer these statements for audit at the recent extraordinary meeting.

Back in October 2021 Council voted to implement a Financial Sustainability Plan and the hard work and dedication of our General Manager, financial team and staff is starting to show dividends. With a net operating surplus of $1.6m before capital grants, similar results have not been seen since 2018. The General Fund which covers everything from parks to roads, except water and sewerage also saw an improvement going from a $8.5m deficit in 2021 to a $1.8m deficit in 2022. Council accepts there is still work to do in the organisational structure, services, staffing levels and the Special Rate Variation, which is still to be debated.

As spring progresses, Hilltops will come alive with the beauty that brings tourists back year after year. The fields of green and gold, award wining wines and the return of major events will inject an estimated $79m into our local economy. Our business districts are buzzing with excitement as the landscape changes with new business opening, established business relocating and new business nearing completion.

As we move around our region please take care on our roads, the unprecedented weather conditions are making it extremely difficult to action all the damage.

RIP Queen Elizabeth II.

Deputy Mayor Alison Foreman