Monday, April 22, 2024

Greater Geelong rises to first financial test

City of Greater Geelong Council says it is poised to achieve a break even budget result in 2022-23, having worked hard to recover its budget position during the second half of the financial year.

In April, it was forecast the Council was tracking towards an operating deficit of just over $8 million, driven by rapidly rising costs across all of its services.

The Council says savings of $6.2 million delivered by the Acting CEO, Kaarina Phyland (pictured), have contributed to a significant turnaround.

“Our Councillor group would like to congratulate the Acting CEO for this significant achievement under difficult circumstances,” said Mayor, Trent Sullivan.

“Kaarina identified the financial challenges the organisation was facing and committed to address them, and she is delivering on that commitment.

“A CEO’s role is to manage the organisation’s finances responsibly, and as we know, this at times requires difficult decisions – especially during periods of economic instability as we’re seeing at the moment.

“A lot of work was put in to turn the budget position around by 30 June, despite costs continuing to rise through that time, and the benefit is the City being closer to long term financial sustainability, something all levels of government need to have their focus on,” he said.

Ms Phyland thanked Council employees who assisted in implementing the changes required to help deliver the result.

“We look forward to their continuing support under incoming CEO, Ali Wastie,” she said.

“The Municipal Association of Victoria recommends that Councils deliver breakeven operating results on average, and in a difficult environment we’ve worked hard to do just that – turn around the City’s finances and move towards the Council’s goal of financial sustainability.

“The work is not finished as we are still facing the same challenges that many governments and businesses are facing, but we will continue to focus on delivering value for money on the services and infrastructure that community survey research tells us matters most to the majority of our ratepayers.

“We’ve reached a break even result without any reductions in funding to those service areas the majority of our community want us to focus on.

“We will also continue to focus on investment and delivery of important infrastructure projects.”

The City’s final results are expected to be released in September after an official audit process by VAGO.

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