‘Council cuts won’t affect Indigo rates’

Indigo Shire mayor Bernard Gaffney.
Indigo Shire mayor Bernard Gaffney.

MORE than $160,000 has been pulled from Indigo Shire’s operating budget following cuts from the federal government.

And the council will still have to find up to $1 million in savings over the next three financial years.

The council moved to find savings after a freeze on indexation was delivered in May’s federal budget.

Indigo Shire chief executive Gerry Smith said in June the shortfall would be $1.76 million over three years.

The majority of this year’s cuts will come from staff wages and recruitment costs, with further cuts to areas including IT, staff training and advertising.

Mayor Bernard Gaffney said the council had also considered raising rates or reducing capital works spending.

“The council believed this was the better option,” he said.

“This will have no effect on delivering services required by the community.”

Cr Gaffney said the savings had focused on administrative and office areas, rather than services.

The council will set aside almost $14,000 in savings for any unexpected items that may need funding.

Cr Gaffney said it was hoped individual government grants could offset the future shortfall.

“As far as covering the indexation in coming years, I hope that specific grants from the federal government will make up for the shortfall in the freeze on indexation,” he said.

“Instead of just giving us the indexation, I’m hoping they will give us specific grants for infrastructure to cover that shortfall.

“There will be no grants forthcoming in this financial year, I’m hoping that will change next financial year.”

Councillors voted in favour of the changes at Tuesday’s meeting.

A reduction in garbage fees will also be passed on to ratepayers following the removal of the carbon tax. Collection fees will fall about $14 and the general waste rate at the transfer station will fall by $4.40 per cubic metre.