Armidale Regional Council has succeeded in reducing its 2018/19 budget operating deficit forecast figure by $3.317 million. It brings the original forecast deficit figure of $3.8 million down to a deficit of $483,000 on a consolidated basis.
At council's Ordinary Monthly Meeting held in Guyra on Wednesday afternoon, council's CEO Susan Law said staff continued to rigorously track the consolidated operating budget.
I do want to highlight a much improved position compared with the original adopted budget.Susan Law
"The staff has put in a lot of work in terms of robustly managing their budgets in order to achieve that consolidated position," Mrs Law informed the meeting.
Cr Murray said because the meeting was running so late he would allow councillors to ask questions for clarification.
Cr Ian Tiley asked what steps were being taken to bring the figure down to zero.
"Councillors, I can't embellish the position by saying we will make that happen," Mrs Law said.
"We are continuing to reduce costs, particularly around our staffing costs ... and over a period of time not replacing a large number of vacancies. At the other end of the ledger of course, is being robust about the collection of fees and charges.
"I can't overstate the creativity we've used in expending grant funds instead of general funds or our own cash in order to undertake the [road] maintenance that we've undertaken."
Cr Robinson said she wanted more information on the budget to be sure no important community programs were being slashed. Councillors Margaret O'Connor, Debra O'Brien and Dorothy Robinson requested their dissent be recorded.