Budget blunder ends in win for City

Vincent Mayor John Carey and chief executive Len Kosova.
Vincent Mayor John Carey and chief executive Len Kosova.

It was recently revealed that the City had mistakenly estimated a $3.2 million surplus for the 2014-15 year, when it actually had a forecast $3.2 million deficit.

If not addressed, the error would have resulted in an estimated deficit of $6.4 million by June next year.

The recently appointed chief executive Len Kosova has written a report, which will have the timing, scope, cost and funding source for various projects amended.

The measures will result in a budget saving of $3.6 million.

Most of the changes in funding and timing relate to roads, parks and streetscape upgrades.

Mr Kosova said he and the executive team had been consumed with the budget over the past few weeks and had scrutinised the finances.

‘We’ve quickly turned a disappointing situation into an opportunity to review and improve our financial position, and focus on delivering projects for our community based on our capacity to do the work on time and on budget,’ Mr Kosova said.

‘It is important to note that the council is not currently in deficit and deferring projects does not mean deleting.’

Mayor John Carey said the changes would result in Vincent’s first balanced budget in five years.

‘The plan is well balanced and will enable us to continue providing core services while also delivering key projects and initiatives valued by our community, such as the Bike Network Plan, Greening Plan, town centre enhancements and park improvements,’ Mr Carey said.

‘Importantly, the strategy will not result in any increase whatsoever to council rates, fees or charges.

‘One of the primary reasons we selected Len Kosova as the new CEO was to drive cultural change within the organisation, and this includes our financial management practices and reporting to council.’