George Town Council overhaul results in reduction of deficit by more than $500,000

The George Town Council’s existing underlying deficit of $1,122,500 will be reduced to $537,769 following a full operational review.

Mayor Bridget Archer said exact details of job losses had not yet been confirmed but there had been a number of areas where inefficiencies were identified.

“Whilst we can identify the operational estimates in the budget, we still haven’t completed the consultation period that is required within the EBA as part of the redundancy process,” she said.

“There has been a whole of organisation approach looking at trying to improve productivity and efficiency, so whilst there is likely to be some job losses, hopefully it won’t be with a consequential loss of services.”

The variance in employee costs between the existing 2017-18 budget and the proposed budget is $428,305.

Cr Archer said the exact jobs which could be lost may be subject to change, but the dollar value to be saved was accurate.

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“If during that time it emerges that there is another idea or another way of achieving the same level of savings and delivering the same level of service then that will be considered,” she said.

Cr Archer said the review also included analysis of staff roles to determine if their skills could be utilised more widely across the entire organisation.

Other areas of improvement included materials costs, savings in insurance, street lighting and registrations, reimbursements and amendments of other revenues.

“Obviously there will be some swings and roundabouts in the first year of the restructure, if we have some redundancies for example … but then we are going to really realise the saving of that in the following year,” Cr Archer said.

“Going forward we are pretty confident that the organisational review will certainly provide a pathway to surplus.”

The restructure had been “incredibly trying” for everyone at the council, Cr Archer said. According to the council’s agenda for Wednesday’s meeting the review found projected savings of $1,001,435. 

The existing 2017-18 budget was adopted at the council’s July meeting, with the condition it be reassessed following the completion of the full operational review.

At the time ratepayers asked the council why rates and the deficit were increasing, when many of the items from the 2016-17 capital works program were yet to be completed despite the fact that they were in the previous year’s budget.