Finding ways to save money and find efficiencies is not a new concept to Yarra Ranges Council.
With the rapidly deteriorating financial climate in Local Government and exponential technology changes, we have already been implementing initiatives to provide the best value to residents.
We understand the cost pressures facing households and are keen to keep our rates as low as possible while still carrying out important services and improving infrastructure.
This year we had the lowest rate increase in the eastern region and one of the lowest in metro Melbourne.
Yarra Ranges Council has committed to the State Government’s rate cap in its first year - 2016/17.
Unlike many other Councils, we will not be asking for an exemption next financial year, despite our predictions of that creating a $81m shortfall in revenue over the next 10 years.
Not only will we have less rate revenue, many of our other funding sources are diminishing. We are experiencing ongoing reductions in Federal and State Government recurrent and capital funding in many areas, while expectations of the services we provide continues to increase.
We are pursuing cost savings through improving processes, comprehensive service reviews, tight labour cost management and department restructures.
Here is a snapshot of some of changes we have implemented in the last year:
- Withdrawing from services subsidised by Council when there are other capable providers in the market. We are ceasing to provide Family Day Care and Early Childhood Intervention Services later this year. This has saved us approximately $100,000 per annum.
- We’ve made general expenditure savings in excess of $1 million for each of the last two years
- Working together with other Eastern Region councils has delivered savings of between 5% and 20% per contract in road resealing services, food and water testing services, line and pavement marking services, traffic management services, tree pruning services and utility management services.
- Reviews of our services have provided innovative outcomes in the last year including:
- Waste - $28 million saving over 9 year contract period
- Changes to homecare rostering system saving $114,000 a year annually.
- Combined labour savings of $848,000 from reviews of Economic and Community Development, Built and Active Spaces, Sustainability and Community, Finance Team, Risk, Emergency and Community Safety and Family and Youth Services.
- Changes in Aged and Disability Services have provided net savings of $130,000 per annum through implementing an AM/PM roster model and outsourcing the “on call” system.
- A review of our Leasing and Licensing has provided net savings of $249,000 per annum to date
- Changes to mobile libraries have provided recurrent savings of approximately $150,000 per annum. Replacing the mobile library truck with a flexi vehicle saved $732,000