Shire learns to pay the piper

By Tyla Harrington

CAMPASPE Shire Council has vowed to remain financially sustainable in future.

Councillors adopted nine key financial principles to guide the development of the 2019/20 budget and long-term financial plan at the ordinary meeting on Tuesday, last week.

One of the principles seeks to maintain an operating surplus over a four year period and another promises not to seek a rate cap variation while council ‘‘maintains a sustainable financial position’’.

Mayor Adrian Weston said the principles were the ‘‘foundation pillars’’ for council’s long-term financial planning.

He said it ensured council’s decisions were made in line with the strategic direction set by council.

‘‘Under the Local Government Act we are required to ensure that our decisions made, and actions taken, have regard to their financial effect on future generations,’’ Cr Weston said.

‘‘The principles will be used to underpin the development of our budget as well as 10-year long-term financial plan.”

In addition to adopting the financial principles, council noted the six month review of the current year’s budget.

‘‘The 2018/19 budget review process gives council an opportunity to identify any variations to the budget and any changed circumstances that may have occurred since the budget was set and adopted,’’ Cr Weston said.

‘‘Council received some additional income as well as savings and increases in expenses, resulting in an overall additional surplus of $106,320.

‘‘The review ensures we are on track financially and can meet our budget targets at the end of June this year.’’

The nine principles are:

1. Council to effectively and efficiently use its resources to deliver the best outcomes for the community while ensuring ongoing future financial sustainability.

2. Council to maintain an operating surplus over a four year period (current year and three forward years).

3. Council to meet current service levels before the allocation of resources for new or expanded service levels or one off operating projects.

4. Council will consider the use of borrowings to fund significant capital projects where there is a demonstrated benefit to future generations and council has the capacity to service the debt.

5. Council seek a balance between service delivery and a cost recovery model having regard to capacity to pay.

6. Council to consider the financial resources required for the implementation of the endorsed council Plan and other strategic plans of council.

7. Before approving new or upgrade capital projects or the acquisition of new assets, council will consider its asset renewal obligations.

8. Before approving the acquisition of new assets, council will have regard to the financial and social impacts along with service needs of the community.