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Council on track to pay down more debt than forecast

By Mark Beale

Whitsunday Regional Council today adopted the December Budget Review 2014-15 which shows that Council will reduce the debt by $3 million more than forecast at the start of the 2014-15 financial year.

Mayor Jenny Whitney said when the 2014-15 budget was adopted in July last year Council said it would reduce the debt from $71 million to $65 million by the end of the financial year.

“Council is pleased that the December Budget Review shows that the projected debt at the end of this financial year will now be $62 million,” she said.

“We will be able to pay the debt down by $9 million this financial year due to the difficult decisions we have made as a Council over the past two years including selling surplus assets, further constraining expenditure, keeping a reduced levy and including a moderate rate rise in 2014-15 Budget.

“The additional debt reduction of $3 million is being achieved thanks to the proceeds from the sale of surplus Council land across the region.

“This is a great result for Council and ultimately the community who will benefit from having a Council which is now being financially managed responsibly.

“Council’s reduction in debt sooner than expected will also take the future burden off ratepayers.

“At the start of the financial year Council also forecast that the prior year operating deficit would be turned around to be operating at a surplus of $1.1 million by the end of the financial year.

“The operating surplus for the end of 2014-15 is now forecast to be $7.1 million, which is an excellent result for Council.

“This is due to a number of factors including an increase in revenue and a decrease in wages expenditure and materials and services and changes to depreciation.

“I would like to thank Council and the Executive Management team for making the hard decisions over the last 2 years, which we can now see are paying off for the benefit of the community,” she said.

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