Livingstone reveals plan to cut costs by $4m a year
By Bill Ludwig, Mayor of Livingstone Shire Council
WITH major projects co-funded by the State and Federal Governments as part of Council's post Cyclone Marcia and mining downturn economic recovery plan now reaching completion, Livingstone Shire Council has been progressively turning its focus toward consolidation of our Long Term Financial Plan (LTFP).
This shift in focus is designed to underpin Council's goal of long-term financial sustainability, resilience and an organisation structure which is flexible, agile and able to meet the needs of our growing community.
Considerable work has been undertaken to identify areas where Council can realise efficiency improvement and reduce overall operating costs which in-turn will reduce future rate rises and ensure ratepayers are getting value for money service levels.
Measures adopted have included the refining of budget processes, better cost estimates, improved projections, re-establishment of long-term funding reserves and an organisational restructure, recommended by the Executive Management Team following a comprehensive independent review across all operational areas of Council.
When fully implemented the restructure, to be phased-in over the next 12 to 18 months, will create a more streamlined organisation, promote efficiency improvements as well as reducing Council's direct operational cost by an estimated $3.9 million per year.
Other initiatives now in-train as part of this process include exploring new revenue sources to reduce reliance on rates revenue, review of service levels to ensure they are sustainable and reflect community needs, and a similar review of Council's rating methodologies and opportunities to smooth the impact of valuation changes on individual ratepayers.
Apart from major disaster events such as Cyclone Marcia, the past four years have had its challenges with Livingstone also being required to solely cover all de-amalgamation costs and accept a disproportionate amount of debt and staffing levels.
On the positive side there have been a broad range of flow-on benefits as a direct result of de-amalgamation including service level improvements, greater community focus and direct access to greater levels of State and Federal funding to deliver the infrastructure required to meet the current and future needs of our growing community.
- Bill Ludwig, Mayor of Livingstone Shire Council