Councillors get to grips with next budget

Date published: 22 February 2023

Townsville City Council is embarking on extensive consultation as it lays the groundwork for the next annual budget to be adopted in June.

Development of the 2023 / 2024 budget is a six-month process that started with a mid-year budget review in December last year. Consultation includes numerous workshops for councillors to inform and involve them in development and agreement of all aspects of the budget.

Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said budget planning is a complex process requiring attention to detail and a commitment by councillors and staff.

“Council is fortunate to have professionals in our team who brief councillors on all elements of the budget including revenue, fees and charges, financial policies and the Capital Plan,” Cr Hill said.

“With a population of 200,000 and a current budget of $957.5 million, it’s essential for every councillor to be informed sufficiently for them to give full consideration to the budget when they vote on it.”

The assistance provided to the 11 councillors includes formal budget workshops followed by walk-in sessions where qualified Council staff are available to provide further information, explanations and to answer any questions a councillor may have.

A register is kept of all councillors who attend the workshops and walk-in sessions, as well as the questions they ask.

“The formal workshops cover key aspects of the budget, whilst the informal walk-in sessions provide councillors with an opportunity to talk to our finance experts one-on-one or in small groups about any part of the budget,” Cr Hill said.

“Council’s budget is complex, so we want councillors to be empowered and involved in the budget that delivers services for Townsville residents,” Cr Hill said.

“As councillors, we come from diverse backgrounds with varying degrees of expertise on budgeting for a large organisation like Council, so it’s worth the six-month investment in time and expertise.

“Our community expects us to be fully engaged in the budget preparation process therefore it’s incumbent on every councillor, including me, to use the opportunities provided.”

Local Government regulations require Council to budget for the current year as well as the following two years, and for budgets to be consistent with the five-year Corporate Plan and annual Operational Plan.

To read more visit the Townsville City Council budget page.