Budget balanced

Financially responsible and guided by strategy

A $10 million loan, a dip into reserves, an underspend of $8m on wages; and Perth city council has passed a balanced budget despite Covid-19’s $15m revenue hit. 

The budget report says the $10m loan from the WA Treasury Corporation could be repaid over 10 years thanks to historically low interest rates.

Trimming

The wage bill was $8m smaller than previous years due to former CEO Murray Jorgensen trimming the large number of staff.

With so much lost revenue from parking and money needed for $20m worth of Covid-19 relief initiatives, cash reserves had to be “drawn down” by $11m to lessen the reliance on rate revenues. 

Rates intake is largely the same, but the amount on each individual bill will vary based on fluctuating rentable values.

Commissioners are due to finish up in October, to be replaced by the newly elected council.

Chair commissioner Andrew Hammond said at the August 4 special meeting that it’s a financially responsible budget, and “the first budget in the history of the City of Perth that’s actually been guided by a cogent financial strategy,” as they now produce budgets in line with a 10-year strategy, rather than handling it one year at a time. 

“I truly believe now that as commissioners we leave a financial framework and a strategic financial planning system in place that will readily be able to engage with the new council and new lord mayor so they may make truly informed decisions on the future of this fine city.” 

By DAVID BELL

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