Mayor Mick Curran at the Rattler relaunch
Mayor Mick Curran at the Rattler relaunch Scott Kovacevic

Mayor reveals Gympie council will operate in the red

As the Gympie Regional Council prepares to bring down its draft budget tomorrow, Mayor Mick Curran has revealed in his weekly column that the decision has been made to run an operational deficit in 2019-20 financial year.

DURING this term of council, significant improvements have been made with regard to how council engages and consults with the community.

Today's special meeting of council is another example of this with Gympie Regional Council looking to put its proposed 2019/2020 budget out for public comment.

We as a council continue to be in a responsible financial position with very low borrowings but we need to remain vigilant into the future.

The capital works program for 2019/2020 is the lowest for some time, noting recent years have seen the construction of important large community and economic infrastructure such as the Gympie Aquatic and Recreation Centre, the Mary Valley Rattler, and Smithfield Street, in addition to ongoing signification investment in infrastructure such as road, bridges, sewerage and footpaths.

Our operating budget is under continual pressure, not unlike all government agencies, but has been developed acknowledging the importance of a responsible approach to rate increases and the importance of equity.

There have been some significant increases in our operational budget including depreciation, wages, insurances and increases in service levels relating to public facilities and animal welfare.

Council is also well down the path of understanding the real cost of operating its water and sewerage service, and how some ratepayers who do not have these services are subsidising those who do.

Council is conscious of cost of living pressures and to address all of these issues at the same time would be unreasonable for the ratepayer. Hence council has made the conscious and responsible decision to run an operational deficit for the 2019/2020 year with the future priority to return to surplus.

On a more relaxed note, council is proud to support and sponsor the Gympie Show once again in 2019. This is a great event, no matter what age you are - I hope to see you all there!

* First glimpse of the council's draft 2019-20 budget on The Gympie Times website tomorrow