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Extra funds put to work

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
City of Bunbury chief executive Mal Osborne will spend $100,000 on business case studies for several projects in the city on the back of a healthier than expected budget surplus.
Camera IconCity of Bunbury chief executive Mal Osborne will spend $100,000 on business case studies for several projects in the city on the back of a healthier than expected budget surplus. Credit: Kate Fielding

City of Bunbury chief executive Mal Osborne will spend $100,000 on business case studies for several projects in the city on the back of a healthier than expected budget surplus.

Bunbury City Council this week adopted the first review of its 2018-19 financials.

The council set out its $67.7 million budget in July, but following the review it has surged to $78.2 million and capital expenditure has increased by more than $8 million.

The increases have mainly been put down to 2017-18 fully funded projects being carried over.

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It also means the council’s actual financial position as of June 30, 2018 has been bolstered from $664,000 to $4 million and its predicted closing surplus at the end of this financial year has increased by $240,000.

The changes will allow the council to look at new projects worth $606,000, including Mr Osborne’s case studies.

Deputy Mayor Jaysen Miguel could not divulge what projects were being investigated, but it is understood a number of projects hand-picked by councillors before the budget could be in the mix.

“So Mal will maybe rank them and say well this one is probably one the community wants most based on all the feedback,” Cr Miguel said.

The more than $600,000 in new projects will also include $80,000 to develop a memorandum of understanding for site deconstraining costs at the Punchbowl Caravan Park site and $50,000 to prepare a preliminary plan and concept design for the Hands Oval redevelopment.

“We’re fortunate to be able to fund them because they needed to be done,” Cr Miguel said.

He said the council’s financial position was “very healthy” and allowed for a “bit of contingency” for projects.

“The staff and CEO have found a number of savings and some expenditure and also we had some higher than expected revenue,” he said.

“We’ve been advised from our finance team that having that kind of surplus is probably the right amount for local government.

“And we’re hoping the CEO and our staff can find more savings, which can go towards newer and better projects.

“The surplus is in a healthy position and it’s a good position for our city to be in.”

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