Mayor John Carey praised new chief executive Len Kosova�s tight rein on City expenses, while discussing the draft 2015-16 budget at Tuesday�s council meeting.
�When you think about it, in August last year, if we took no further action we would have had an $8 million deficit by now,� Mr Carey said.
�We are now forecasting a surplus of over $400,000 thanks to the dedication of the new CEO and our planning and administration, and the CEO�s drive for financial accountability.
�We are now on the right path, despite the extraordinary scenario we faced nine months ago, we�ve turned it around.�
Total rates are listed to increase 6.5 per cent in the draft budget, with an 8.5 per cent increase for businesses and a 2.8 per cent increase for residential rates.
Former Vincent councillor Dudley Maier said he thought council was slugging businesses an unfair rate to make up for the low residential rate increase.
�You are sacrificing principles for populism,� Mr Maier said.
Mr Carey dismissed the idea.
�It�s not about glib popular support � this is fair for our ratepayers,� he said.
�Last year commercial and industry got off very lightly, this is a logical step.�
Mr Kosova said he faced a difficult situation in his first year as CEO at Vincent.
�(On) my first day as CEO, we got the letter from the Department of Local Government saying we were in deficit,� Mr Kosova said.
�It seemed to be a fairly insurmountable hurdle last year.�