Redland City Council has modernised the way it funds projects to ensure ratepayers get best value for their dollar.
Under the move, endorsed by Council’s general meeting on Wednesday, senior managers can now approve adjustments to project costs to ensure the work is delivered in line with community expectations.
Redland City Council finance spokesman Mark Edwards said the change was in keeping with modern practice and ensured projects would not be delayed while requests for cost adjustments awaited approval at Council general meetings.
“It is prudent to have a system that allows for maximum flexibility within a suitable framework of transparency and accountability,’’ Cr Edwards said. “This ensures that more projects can be delivered each year and leads to increased community satisfaction.’’
Cr Edwards said Redland City Council delivered hundreds of capital and operational projects each financial year costing about $50 million.
“It is inevitable that in any year circumstances will arise with some projects which mean the original budget provided is either too high or too low,’’ he said.
“Abnormal weather or unforseen cultural heritage needs, for example, can significantly affect costs.
“While Council rightly expects managers to consider these matters during project planning and take all necessary measures to mitigate risks, it is simply not possible to predict all issues that may arise and therefore it is inevitable that decisions will need to be made to amend the project’s scope, increase or reduce budget for projects or to reallocate funds from one project to another.’’
Cr Edwards said the present requirement for Council approval each time project budgets were changed was not required under the Local Government Act.
“There are multiple processes that already exist to provide accountability and transparency. In addition, there are in-built safeguards within the Act to ensure Councillors can always access detailed information on specific projects concerning both the financial and delivery status of projects,’’ Cr Edwards said.
“This move will not only allow the CEO or senior managers to approve adjustments to a particular project but allow them to approve adjustments between projects or bring projects forward to ensure the community gets the infrastructure they need on time.’’