By TONY FOSTER
AS 2010 draws to a close I can happily report to you that Brighton Council is now totally debt-free.
Council recently unanimously voted to pay off from its cash reserves, all outstanding loans amounting to $1,058 million meaning that your council is debt-free.We are proud that we are now in this enviable position. Over recent years we have focused strongly on providing sound financial management and fiscal responsibility, and that focus has now paid off, literally. We are now able to pay off our loans while at the same time maintaining a healthy cash reserve.
We are in the enviable position as has been recognised by Access Economics and the Tasmanian Audit Office to be financially sound, which is a tremendous boost for our community going forward.
Brighton was recognised in the Auditor-General’s latest report on Local Government as being the best performing council in the state with the highest operating margin (surplus), the lowest staff ratio per head of population and the second lowest rate revenue per head of population
Like many other Tasmanian councils, Brighton previously suffered financial deficits but we are now recognised as the most profitable council in Tasmania with the lowest rates, something of which we are all particularly proud.
This financial success has not been achieved by good luck. We have worked hard to get where we are today.
We have been particularly successful in managing growth and generating external income through our privately-owned company Microwise Australia both within Australia and overseas.
We have also been able to offer our professional services’ support to other Tasmanian and interstate councils providing significant cost efficiencies for those councils as well as important revenue for our municipality.”
Brighton Council has concentrated on maintaining efficiencies within our own operations and have been recognised as consistently having the lowest staff numbers per capita in Tasmania.
A benefit from Council’s financial success and fiscal responsibility has also ensured that council has been able to keep its rates at or below inflation for the past 12 consecutive years.
These decisions have continued to provide a number of benefits to our community, the largest benefit still being the Council’s successful and revolutionary flat-rate system which is providing a better and fairer way to rate the municipality and pay for services that are supplied to the entire community.
Overall it is pleasing that we are in now in a situation that ensures we can enjoy an enormous amount of financial flexibility to continue to grow and provide the services and amenities required by such a progressive municipality.
On behalf of Council, may I take this opportunity of wishing you and your loved ones the best for a safe and happy festive season. I look forward to seeing you at functions and events in Brighton over coming weeks.