Media Response How the Councils fared during lockdown
Questions and Responses
We have been asked to contact all of our councils for a group story on how councils fared during covid.
Did the CEO and executives keep their paycheck or take a cut?
How much does the CEO earn?
Were any council staff sacked or did they keep their job during covid?
What happened to council revenue during this time? Are there any figures?
What services are under threat?
What projects haven't been delivered?
How have rates been affected?
What are the big issues facing the council in 2021?
The past year has been an extremely challenging one and local governments were not immune from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The first case of COVID-19 was in Glen Waverley, so Monash has felt the impact of the virus immediately.
Our focus from the outset was to give surety to our staff and provide some financial relief and support to our community.
Council took the unique position of giving assurance of ongoing employment for permanent staff. Casual staff employed by Council and who had worked on a regular and systematic basis for six months or more were also given this assurance. It was important that during a time of uncertainty, our staff had the security of a job.
Our executive team and managers waived pay increases in 2020.
We also made the decision to provide a 10 per cent waiver on 2020/21 rates for all ratepayers, including businesses, which on average equates to around a $157 reduction per rateable property. We felt that this was one of the most immediate ways we could give our ratepayers some relief and as far as we are aware, we are the only Council to provide a cut in rates across the board. This rate waiver of 10% applied to all 81,319 ratepayers in Monash. The 10% rate waiver cost Council $12.7M.
We pride ourselves on having managed our finances prudently over the years and as a result Council has been debt free for the last 7 years. In a normal operating year Council makes a surplus on operations which is then used to fund new infrastructure and other capital expenditure. In the 2020/21 financial year, however, we expect a small operating deficit ($0.69M) which will result in some capital projects being delayed. At the same time, delays were experienced on a number of ongoing projects, including our most significant current project the Oakleigh Recreation Centre expansion, because of COVID restrictions on the site.
Like every other Council in Australia we are operating under constrained financial circumstances. We know that services including waste collection, our libraries, maintenance of roads and footpaths, sporting facilities, child immunisation and meals on wheels are vital to our community. We’ve made sure that none of these are impacted by the reduction in rates for 2020/21.
We will continue to do all we can to deliver the high quality services, projects and initiatives our community expects. Where possible we look to collaborate with State and Federal Governments on funding projects and are extremely grateful for the grants we receive.
Issued: 3 February 2021
To: Monash Leader
Quoting: Mayor, Councillor Brian Little