Councils are always being challenged to do more with less. Therefore, being financially responsible is an ever-present necessity.
Unley Council is no exception. When I joined Council back in 2010 there was a history of Council increasing rates well above CPI.
I have now been a contributing member of three subsequent councils that have reversed that trend. In the four-year term prior to my joining, the increase was 11% above CPI. This current 4-year term has seen an increase of 4% less than CPI.
These three councils have nonetheless achieved much. My prior blogging highlights most of those achievements and is available for all to see.
The key to being financially responsible or should I say ensuring financial sustainability is knowing your long-term goals and aspirations and budgeting accordingly. Budgeting nonetheless not just for budgeting’s sake.
Budgeting, as I learnt a long time ago being a small business operator before my retirement, requires constant monitoring. Every decision we may make needs to be measured against the budget and the long-term financial plan.
In the case of Councils, there is a need for collaboration between “the council” and its administration.
We have had that thankfully in my time at Unley. For that collaboration to work, the council’s administration obviously needs to be financially competent.
That is not sufficient, however. It is important that the council has sufficient elected members who have financial acumen sufficient to oversee what administration may present.
Having sufficient members with financial acumen, however, may not necessarily be achieved. Some members have struggled in my time but that is to be expected. Members of councils are not appointed because of what they have to offer. They are elected and therefore some may not have the necessary skills. That is not necessarily bad, so long as there are sufficient that are financially competent.
I claim to have that and have been an active contributor with others to the budgets prepared in my time on Council. I will continue to be a contributor rather than a spectator. Accordingly, I stand as someone protecting your financial interests.
This article was written & authorised by Don Palmer. 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park.