Council finds $500,000 savings

Colac Otway Shire Council will have an extra half-a-million dollars to spend in next financial year’s budget, providing funding hopes for projects like new toilets at Cororooke.

Colac Otway Shire Council will have an extra half-a-million dollars to spend in next financial year’s budget, providing funding hopes for projects like new toilets at Cororooke.

Acting council chief Robert Dobrzynski has confirmed that council officers have identified $500,000 in savings, as requested by councillors as part of accepting the 2018-19 draft budget last month, but the council is yet to say where it’s found the savings.

Mr Dobrzynski said the significant savings would not affect services or result in “direct staff cuts” without a decision going back to councillors for approval, but he could not rule out staff reductions under “department improvement plans”.

Cr Chris Smith told the community earlier this month that despite it being “very difficult” for the council to make significant changes to the draft budget, the savings would “give hope” to people who made budget submissions.

“We are fortunate there was a motion passed that council officers find $500,000 over the next financial year, that puts us in a different position to flag where that money can go,” Cr Smith said.

He said the council might not be able to include requests from submitters for projects like toilets at Cororooke’s tennis courts and more funding for the Old Beechy Rail Trail, but he hoped “these two submissions will be funded out of these savings”.

Mr Dobrzynski said the council would deliver the identified savings by June 30, 2019, but “if those areas identified can’t be delivered, other areas will need to be identified to substitute for those areas”.

He said the councillors had specifically stated “if there are any areas of efficiency within service delivery that require a change to the service level, these matters are required to be brought back to council for a formal decision first”.

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