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Mayor's Desk

Posted on: 6 August, 2018

Livingstone Mayor's Desk - 4 August, 2018

Successive pro-active budgets now have our community well on track to realise those goals.

The 2018-19 budget is focussed on consolidation, and importantly on creating the frame to realise another goal of putting council in the position to keep future rate rises to a level as close as possible to CPI increases.

Affordability and returning future rate rises to be more closely aligned with CPI will be achieved from next financial year with our 10-year long-term financial management plan now modelled against likely CPI increases.

Credit must once again go to Deputy Mayor Nigel Hutton in his role of Chairman of Finance for his leadership in this important area.

In bringing down six successive budgets, council has been required to deal with two major underlying challenges.

The first was to pay off the cost of Livingstone regaining our independence.

The second has been to deal with the $76million of debt we unfairly inherited in the process.

Put into perspective, Livingstone was required to meet all de-amalgamation costs of approximately $10million, which we agreed to do when we voted for independence.

The inherited debt levels will unfortunately always remain a matter of contention.

Prior to amalgamation, Livingstone's total debt stood at just $29million with cash reserves of approximately $39million.

There is simply no way that an additional $47million in debt funding was ever spent in Livingstone during the intervening period.

Despite these major challenges the new Livingstone is once again moving forward delivering approximately $227 million in major capital works with a corresponding increase in debt of just $9 million.

The community can also now see exactly where rates money is being spent compared to what had been happening in the previous six years prior to de-amalgamation.

This year's budget will see another $48.3million spent on capital works projects with no new borrowings and debt reducing by $4.8million.

The 10 years forecast will see debt reduce by approximately 69 per cent to $27million by 2027-28.

Combined this is a significant achievement well above and beyond what would be considered possible for a council of our size.

Bill Ludwig, Mayor,

Livingstone Shire Council

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