Gympie Regional Council a juggling act
AGRICULTURE remains the Gympie region's key industry, with a focus on beef production and forestry, though the area has maintained a tourism sector drawn to our unique heritage, scenic and coastal attractions.
Gympie Regional Council last month adopted its fourth annual report for 2011-2012, noting that while 50,000 people live in and around Gympie, another 20,000 are expected to move here in the next two decades.
Meeting figures from last financial year reveal that the number of council meetings open to the public has been cut by about 70% by the new committee structure.
In 2011-12, the mayor and councillors attended 61 ordinary and standing committee meetings.
This year they will attend one every three weeks, which equates to about 17 a year.
The salary bill for the mayor and councillors last year totalled $847,000, with committee chairmanships earning councillors Tony Perrett, Donna Neilson and Larry Friske an extra $1672 each, and Cr Ian Petersen an extra $3345.
A council workforce of almost 480 managed the region's library 24,867-strong library membership, more than 5000km of pipes and mains, a $41 million capital infrastructure budget and $5 million maintenance budget for 978km of unsealed roads and 1288km of sealed roads.
Almost three times more cats than dogs were registered throughout the region last financial year - 13,000 cats compared to 4798 dogs.
Almost 900 building applications were approved and 200 development applications.
CEO Bernard Smith noted in the report that the council was a major business in its own right, and he and Mayor Ron Dyne both stressed the challenges posed by the flood damage of 2011 and 2012.
The council's operating revenue - income from rates, fees and charges - last year jumped to $92.3 million from $79.7 million the previous financial year.
Rates and charges accounted for more than $55 million of that revenue last year and $51 million the year before.
Its expenses - day-to-day costs such as wages, maintenance, materials, depreciation and finance costs - also jumped, from $78 million in 2010-11 to $86.7 million last year.
At a glance 2011-2012
- 13,000 cats registered; 4798 dogs registered
- 900 building applications
- 200 development applications
- 24,867 library members
- Salary bill for mayor and councillors $847,000
- Total value of council assets $1015 million
- Council controlled sealed roads 1288km
- Council controlled unsealed roads 978km
- Council maintained public halls 35
- Most often used The Pavilion (268 bookings)
- $2.1 million spent upgrading road building plant, equipment and fleet