Savings of $9 million show Council's commitment to ratepayers

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It’s always a highlight for me when I get to show ratepayers how Council is being responsible with their money so a report showing $9 million of savings since 2017 was fantastic.

The report tabled at Monday night’s meeting found that despite the worst drought on record, forced local government amalgamation, economic downturn and the far-reaching effects of a global pandemic, Council has been able to make these financial improvements.

And the Councillors have played a major role in these changes, encouraging staff to look for every opportunity to save. These savings allow Council to invest in other areas such as delivery of infrastructure and liveability projects and upgraded service delivery.

Since this Council was elected in September 2017, there have been more than $6 million saved in reductions through changes to staff travel, a move to internal recruitment, and the quarantining of wages from staff vacancies.

There have also been a reduction in costs by moving from expensive leasing of IT and computer equipment to outright purchasing, and by transitioning to a paperless office. There have also been significant savings that came through changing our insurance provider and

I have spoken previously about the transition to energy efficient LED street lighting and as well as making for whiter, brighter streets at night, this saves the Council approximately $570,000 a year.

In total there has been $9 million in savings, while investment in our facilities has also resulted in higher usage and an increase in income from this. Greater usage of our sporting and tourism facilities, as well as our waste facility at Whylandra, has resulted in more than $2.5 million. Clever access of grant programs also freed up an additional $1.5 million.

It is critical to me that Council is financially responsible. We have been hit hard by COVID-19 and we are still dealing with a significant infrastructure backlog, especially in the former Wellington Shire where there are indications we are behind by tens of millions of dollars in works. Any money we can save will help us offset costs when it comes to maintenance of our rural road network and service delivery.

At Monday’s meeting we also endorsed a report into the beautification of the Dubbo CBD, in particular increased tree plantings. This is the outcome of a Mayoral Minute I presented last year with the goal of providing shade for pedestrians and reducing the heat absorption of asphalt and concrete.

Staff were able to secure a $440,000 grant from the Australian Government’s Drought Communities Program for Drought Resilient Urban Landscapes, which will fund the installation of tree pits and planting of trees in Wingewarra and Talbragar streets. Plantings in Bultje Street are also planned depending on the availability of funds.

Dubbo has long hot summers so the more trees we can get planted the better.

If you are near the Dubbo Visitor Information Centre you might notice a fantastic mural by Gill Pedrana featuring some of the native species of our region. It was great to be part of this opening which promotes the Save our Species program. Well done to Gill on her incredible work.

Last Edited: 27 Oct 2020

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