Mayor Andy Ireland is “really happy” with the budget he is set to hand down today.
Mayor Andy Ireland is “really happy” with the budget he is set to hand down today.

Livingstone budget ‘set to deliver’ for entire region

LIVINGSTONE Shire Mayor Andy Ireland officially hands down his first budget on Tuesday - one he hopes will get across the line smoothly on the basis that preparation is key.

“We’ve been through 13 budget meetings so far since we’ve taken office, to try and get this, I won’t say right, but to get this resolved and in place,” Cr Ireland said on budget eve.

“So we’ve been through a long, arduous process.

“I’m hoping nothing will come along to complicate that tomorrow (Tuesday).

“One of the things I did emphasise to the councillors this time around was, I encouraged them to ask questions, because I didn’t want anybody going into the meeting to vote for the budget without understanding what was involved.”

While ratepayers will have to wait until Tuesday to learn the extent of any rates rises in the 2020-21 edition, Cr Ireland did provide this insight into his first budget since being elected in March.

“It will be one of the biggest capital works programs this council has ever delivered,” he said.

“The good part about that is, a significant portion of it is funded through state and federal funding.

“That allows us to deliver a lot in the way of projects that have been outstanding for a long time, but is also not going to cost the community heaps and heaps of money.”

Cr Ireland said he was “really pleased” with the budget he is set to hand down.

“We’re doing a significant amount of work in the rural areas as well, so I’m doubly happy about that.

“Some of those rural roads that needed attention will get it.

“It has been a concerted effort by everybody doing the budget to try and be more conscious of what’s needed in the rural areas.”

In these unprecedented times, Cr Ireland said coronavirus impacts had been discussed during budget deliberations.

“There will be some components in there that cater specifically for COVID-19,” he said.

“Generally speaking, how we’ve responded to it via this budget, is the capital works program.

“So, in spending so much money in the community, we’re keeping our staff employed.

“And we’ve certainly taken a conscious decision not to reduce our staff numbers, simply because it’s not a good thing to do when you’ve got a situation like COVID-19.

“We certainly don’t want to be contributing to the unemployment rate.”

Tuesday’s special council meeting in which the budget is handed down will be live-streamed on the council’s Facebook page.

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