Council 2024-25 Budget.

Cllr Peter Harle JP

Cllr Peter Harle JP

Liverpool City Council has placed its proposed 2024-25 Budget on public display for 28 days. The proposed Budget indicates Council will have a modest surplus of around $3.9m, sadly, apart from an increase in your annual rates of 5%, that is only possible by selling several significant and strategic income producing assets worth tens of millions of dollars this year, followed by more sales of significant income producing assets next year.

Note: Without the sale of significant income producing assets and the postponement of  capitol expenditure projects, this budget would produce a significant deficit / shortfall of around -$18m.

Prior to this term of Council, the previous term was criticised for its $11m deficit, bear in mind Covid 19 affected all Councils. Despite related significant costs, Liverpool Council had the lowest deficit of its seven bordering Councils, indicating its financial management was far better. Info here:

Considering that this term of Council had no Covid 19, nor significant Asbestos remediation works to deal with plus obtaining record grants from both Federal and State Governments, it is strange that Council faced a record deficit of around -$18m were it not for the sale of significant income producing strategic assets.

This budget refers to record spending on infrastructure. However, this term of Council has spent relatively little on Community facilities and projects compared to the previous term of 2016-2021, which included Cirrillo Reserve, Stanton Reserve, Apex Park, Phillips Park, Bigge Park, Casula Parklands, Schofield Park, upgrades to Michael Wenden Aquatic Centre and refurbishing numerous small parks totalling around $400m, a record not achieved in any previous term of Council.

The only new proposal, as part of the original 400 Day plan, is the proposed Hammondville Leisure Centre, although that is yet to find a funding source for the estimated $60m cost and substantial sales of existing community facilities.

During this term, Council increased its staff costs by around $15m while Senior Staff and management were granted substantial wage increases of up to 50%, via the restructuring of Council Administration.

Added to those costs were substantial increases in Media and Communications staff plus several Media advisors to the Mayors unit.

Overall, since this is an election year a significant deficit Budget of at least -$18m would not appeal to ratepayers as it amounts to an admission of poor financial management and contradicts the Mayors’ previous electioneering rhetoric accusing Council of financial mismanagement with a deficit of $11m (2016-2021).

Don’t be fooled by the Mayors rhetoric, this is an election Budget and not in the best interests of the Community. Next years’ Budget forecast is expected to be in deficit by 10s of millions of dollars.

I did not support this Budget and do not support selling income producing assets that significantly reduce the need to increase fees and charges.

Councillor Peter Harle JP
17th May 2024

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