Counting the cost

By ADRIAN MILLER

amiller@dailyexaminer.com.au

CLARENCE Valley councillor Chris Gulaptis has reiterated calls for the fledgling council to admit it needs financial help and apply for funding to the Iemma Government.

Cr Gulaptis said he was worried the council was in a perilous financial position and would need help to overcome it.

"I'm really concerned last year's management plan wasn't able to be completed in certain areas and we have a shortfall for three-quarters of last year of $1.8 million," he said.

"I believe we need to seriously look at our financial position, especially in relation to amalgamation issues."

However, mayor Ian Tiley said he believed Cr Gulaptis had jumped the gun.

"This is a one-off problem and I am absolutely confident that the financial position is solid," he said.

"The deficit Cr Gulaptis talks about won't be the real deficit; it'll be substantially less than that."

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Cr Gulaptis said because the problem was largely caused by the former Carr Government's forced amalgamation, it was essential council sought its successor's (the Iemma Government) help to rectify the situation.

"What we have to do now is ensure that the State Government recognises amalgamation has come at a cost," he said.

"If they know we've got a problem as a result of amalgamation then they should prioritise funding for us so that we can overcome the problem that they instigated."

Cr Tiley said based on savings already made by council departments and council's investment choices, costs already had been reduced.

"When I first became mayor at the end of March I instructed all the senior managers to make every saving possible as long as it didn't reduce service levels," he said.

"We also exceeded, very comfortably, the interest on investments target, as well as other things."

Cr Tiley said while confident about council's finances, not knowing their exact position was something he was worried about.

"I've been advised by the general manager (Stuart McPherson) that we'll know our actual financial situation about mid-October," he said.

"I'm obviously concerned we don't know the real position and the reason for that is corporate services staff have got to do trial balances of the former council's balances as of June 30, which is something they're com- pleting now."



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