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Councillor Column – 23 April 2024 – Councillor Brian Ingram

Apr 30, 2024

For Immediate Release 23 April 2024
Authorised by Councillor Brian Ingram

Well, it’s that time of the year again when Council needs to be focused on setting its budget for 2024/25. The task of setting Council’s budget is the most important task that Councillors undertake. Staff at this point have not held any budget workshops but I imagine/hope that they are being planned to begin very shortly.

It is very important that Councillors have input not only into the allocation of funds but also to follow up and ensure that the funds are being spent where they were allocated.

This is only possible if Councillors are provided with accurate and timely financial reports from Council. The main report that Councillors receive which contains this information is the Quarterly Budget Review Reports.

As well as this, Councillors had requested that a Capital Works Programme be presented monthly and while this has taken some time to come to fruition it is now happening. The report provides Councillors with all the relevant information as to where the Capital Works are up to both in regards to budget and timelines.

Also instigated by Councillors and assisted by Council after several lengthy workshops, we have developed a Financial Improvement Strategy Program for Hilltops Council which was endorsed at our February Meeting. There are six main areas that were identified in the plan to be looked at and they are:

  • Asset Recycling
  • Service Levels
  • Service Catalogue
  • User Pay and Cost Recovery
  • Additional Revenue Streams
  • Internal Efficiencies

Councillors are hoping by looking closely into these six areas Council may be able to identify some savings as well as looking to increase its revenue.

We all know that cost shifting by the State Government and large increases in costs are making it increasingly difficult for Local Government to balance the books, but we need to at least show that we are proactively trying to become more efficient and effective with the revenue we receive.

“Local” Government is just that, Rates, Roads and Rubbish and we have trouble looking after the 3 R’s so lets leave the role of saving the world and mankind to someone much better equipped than Hilltops Council.

I hope everyone is enjoying this great Autumn weather.
Brian Ingram