Mayor says surplus not welcomed

Zoe KeenanSouth Western Times
Bunbury Mayor Gary Brennan
Camera IconBunbury Mayor Gary Brennan

City of Bunbury Mayor Gary Brennan said he was not happy with a projected budget surplus saying it reflected that rates were set too high this year.

In the annual budget report this year an $83.6 million budget was set, based on a rate increase of 3 per cent for residents.

Last week Mr Brennan said the projected surplus was at $900,000.

“I wasn’t happy about that surplus because it’s a big number ... I’m keen on having a surplus every year but not a big surplus,” he said.

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“Around $400,000 is good because there are times when unexpected things happen ... to have a surplus of $900,000 is about almost 2.5 per cent of rates.

“We increased our rates by three per cent this year so the public will, rightly so, say hang on a minute, there was an increase in rates but there’s a surplus.”

He said City of Bunbury chief executive Malcolm Osborne had taken steps to ensure it would be more accurate next financial year.

“In all fairness to our staff we have a $70 million budget, what we’ve done the last financial year is we’ve brought forward our budgeting meeting by about a month, so staff had to try to get as close to the mark as they could.”

Mr Brennan said Bunbury City Council would determine where the surplus would be spent but said it could include any unexpected expenditure, including fixing a possible leak at the South West Sports Centre swimming pool.

He also said it could reduce the $500,000 borrowed for the Stirling Street Art Centre redevelopment.

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