Amalgamation set to pay off, says council
By TOBY WALKER
AFTER a period of spending to settle into its newly-amalgamated form, Clarence Valley Council now expects future savings from its rationalised operations.
In its second progress report to Local Government Minister Tony Kelly, council estimated it could achieve future savings of nearly $1 million thanks to the amalgamation.
The report said council's amalgamation costs for the first nine months of operations exceeded savings by $529,000 due to the need to make oneoff purchases.
Spending on items like a new computer system to connect the council's offices around the Valley is an example.
However, the report said council's projected future savings were likely to exceed costs by $908,000, with the costs based on the figures gleaned from the period between March to December last year.
Council general manager Ken Boyle said the savings would be absorbed into council services like an expanded community and cultural department and a newly-established economic development unit.
"There was a lot of one-off costs incurred up until now," he said.
"Now that we've had those one-off costs we should be able to reap the benefits of the overall savings (achieved through amalgamation)."
Council's report also points out the savings ratepayers should enjoy from from its adoption of a proposal to have single Valley-wide water and sewerage funds and a common charging system.
Mayor Ian Tiley expected the average typical water residential bill to drop from $321 a year to $250 by 2010.
He said it would have been impossible to achieve such savings before the amalgam- ation.