Gympie council’s CEO Bernard Smith and mayor Mick Curran maintain they can return to an operating surplus with savings – but that’s a big ask following an $11 million deficit.
Gympie council’s CEO Bernard Smith and mayor Mick Curran maintain they can return to an operating surplus with savings – but that’s a big ask following an $11 million deficit.

Can council claw back $11m without amputating something?

AN $11 million operating loss, a Christmas tree hiccup and a councillor learning Facebook and nuance don’t mix.

It’s been a big week for the council – and it’s still only Wednesday. Mayor Mick Curran has consistently said the council’s deficits will be managed by finding savings.

A noble goal; but clawing back $11 million? Can this be done with a nip and tuck job? Or is a full-blown leg amputation the only way to save the patient?

People will happily speculate the council has cut costs on roads if they’re not given a clear picture of where the savings are coming from.
People will happily speculate the council has cut costs on roads if they’re not given a clear picture of where the savings are coming from.

If it’s option A, it’s a good idea to lay the plan’s fine points clearly and cleanly for the public. Otherwise, I guarantee people will think it’s been slashed from basic services every time they thump over a pothole.

And this brings us to the new $13 million sports-themed elephant in the room – a project the staff report recommends.

What was that about savings?

The Rattler is one of several blown-out or delayed projects which prompts questions about the council’s ability to manage future projects.
The Rattler is one of several blown-out or delayed projects which prompts questions about the council’s ability to manage future projects.

The hope is the State or Feds will pay for at least half of the project.

But that still leaves the other half, plus overruns … and with a track record which includes delays and blow outs on the Equestrian Centre, the Rattler, Upper Mary St, Smithfield St and Curra Hall, I can’t help but wonder if council’s Magic 8-ball isn’t stuck on “reply hazy, try again”.

I’d suggest buying a new one, but can they afford it?