Douglas Shire Council will be completely debt-free before the end of the financial year after resolving to fully repay loans held with the Queensland Treasury Corporation (QTC) which were attributed to Council during the deamalgamation process.
Council currently owes QTC just under $2 million for loans taken out by Cairns Regional Council to fund infrastructure projects in the Douglas Shire during the amalgamation period.
Mayor Julia Leu said ratepayers will be saved almost $400,000 over the remaining life of the loans as a result of repaying the loans early and becoming a debt-free Council.
“This is a huge milestone that demonstrates sound strategic financial planning by this Council,” Mayor Leu said.
“Due to the diligence and financial planning skills of our staff, we’ll be a debt-free Council less than four years after deamalgamation which is an achievement many detractors thought we would never realise.
“To achieve this in such a short amount of time and realise a significant saving for ratepayers is testament to the long-term prudent financial management of this Council.”
In more good news for Council’s financial sustainability, the latest monthly financial report shows an improvement of more than $400,000 on the budget.
Operating revenue for the first nine months of the 2016/17 financial year exceeds budget expectations by $240,000, with operating expenditure under budget by $227,000.
“Once again, these savings are largely due to the efforts of our staff to obtain value for money on behalf of our communities combined with support for a strong local economy,” Mayor Leu said.
“We are on track to achieve our ultimate aim, which is a budget surplus by 2019/20, and remain committed to this goal.”