Council Budgets always a Balancing Act

Eurobodalla’s councillors are keen to hear from residents on how Council should be spending its money.

Using the Balancing Act online platform, residents can indicate which Council services they value by assigning more or less dollars to each from a $1,000 budget. Eurobodalla Mayor Mathew Hatcher said “just like budgets at home, Council also had a fixed budget”.

“More of one thing, means less of another,” Mayor Hatcher said.

“Councillors previewed the Balancing Act platform last week – it’s intuitive and easy to use. It is a good tool that highlights to us any discrepancies between current budgeting and community expectations.

“It also explains how services are currently funded. Some services cost a lot of money but are largely funded by other levels of government, with little financial contribution from Council. And some services – like water, sewer and waste – are not included because they are funded from their own rates and charges.” Fortunately Eurobodalla Council charges the maximum allowed for water and sewer so it can pay itself a dividend each year that is fed back into the restricted General Fund via a loophole that allows Council to pay itself up to 50% of the profits from their overcharge. Further reading: Along with a rate increase Council increases water, sewer, tip fees and user fees

Balancing Act will be open from Wednesday 9 February to Wednesday 9 March on Council’s website, after which trend data will be used to determine possible changes to budgeting priorities and presented to Councillors for their review.

“Of course, Council will need to balance any trends against other constraints, for example those services Council is bound to provide by law, such as public and environmental health,” Mayor Hatcher said. “Councillor feedback will then be integrated into the draft Delivery Program 2022-26 and draft Operational Plan 2022-23 – Council’s to-do list for the next term – and go out for public comment.”

Balancing Act is a tool in the Bang The Table online suite. Council successfully used Bang The Table last October to gather the community’s priorities and aspirations into the Community Strategic Plan – the overarching document for its integrated planning and reporting. The Community Strategic Plan will be on exhibition during February and March for public comment.

To participate, visit www.oureurobodalla.esc.nsw.gov.au or click on the banner on Council’s homepage. For more information on Council’s integrated planning documents visit https://www.esc.nsw.gov.au/council/plans-and-reporting.


Above: Councillor Tanya Dannock previewed the online Balancing Act platform last week.

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