Urgency to fix Gladstone's huge $136m black hole

EVERY dollar counts when you're staring at a $136 million debt, so finding alternative ways to save money for Gladstone Regional Council is an opportunity worth seizing, according to councillor Kahn Goodluck.

Speaking during last week's council finance and corporate governance committee meeting, Cr Goodluck was animated when speaking in regard to tender recommendations over the preferred supplier arrangement of survey services contracted to the region.

Cr Kahn Goodluck.Photo Paul Braven / The Observer
Cr Kahn Goodluck.Photo Paul Braven / The Observer Paul Braven GLA050416COUNCIL

Capricorn Surveys Gladstone Pty Ltd were chosen out of a field of 11 submissions for another 12-month contract at a cost of $247,000.

Council's engineering services obtains most of their ongoing engineering and cadastral survey services, concerned with land management, through an existing PSA contract with Capricorn Surveys.

Seven out of the 11 submissions were from companies located in the Gladstone region.

Cr Goodluck backed Engineering Services director Paul Keech's comments that there were benefits that flowed throughout the organisation of having the survey service performed in-house.

"The flexibility of using a contractor is always a good thing, but I think for $247,000 we could probably employ two extra people and still have some change leftover to use contract services if and when we need to," Cr Goodluck said.

"I think the sentiment around the council is that we should really try to employ people directly wherever possible.

"Whenever an opportunity like that comes up we'll try and seize it - particularly if it's going to save money and benefit our organisation."

While the debt issue is being feverishly addressed, down almost $40 million from a reported figure of $175 million in November, Cr Goodluck said looking for alternative ways to save money and create jobs within council remained a high priority.

"It will give us more expertise which is beneficial to the ratepayer and make us more efficient," he said.

"We just passed a motion for another 12-month (contract), so within that period the expectation will be that we get some detailed reporting on what's available and costs.

"Paul (Keech) mentioned in nine months time we'll look to develop a recruitment program.

"We've got to weigh it all up - costs, benefits - there's the pros and cons and I certainly hope that the outcome from that will be we can put on a couple of extra people within the next 12 months and save some money in the process."

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"All costs have to be considered, but it's very exciting though."

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