News

Ratepayers fork out for $560,000 council overtime bill

MORE than half a million dollars of ratepayers' money went towards Rockhampton Regional Council staff overtime in October.

Employees in all council departments clocked up about $560,000.

The figure was one of many numbers crunched in council chambers this week as councillors went over the cost of running council.

>>$7.5 million of wages as council forfeits flood subsidy

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But CEO Evan Pardon said overtime was essential to running council and servicing the community.

About 40% of council's $343million budget goes towards wages.

The Regional Services department, which covers Fitzroy River Water, Rockhampton Regional Waste and Recycling, Civil Operations and Engineering Services and most construction and maintenance works, has accumulated the most overtime of all departments since the beginning of the financial year.

In September the department's overtime bill was $490,000.

"Some services, particularly those in Regional Services, need to be available to ensure emergency response to the community 24/7," Mr Pardon said. "Following flood events in recent years, council has also been dedicating additional resources into flood recovery works that are additional to regular workload of council staff."

He said much of the overtime was caused by jobs that had to be done out of hours, such as maintenance of roads in high traffic areas, and wet weather and live sewer allowances.

Mr Pardon stood by the costly overtime accumulated over the past four months, saying council had reviewed whether overtime was being managed appropriately in former mayor Brad Carter's term.

Council misses out on $7.5m as it uses its own employees for flood repairs

ALMOST two years after the Fitzroy River broke its banks and flooded parts of Rockhampton, council is still paying the price.

Council has spent $34.5million from 2010, when staff began sand-bagging areas and getting the town ready for the disaster, up until today.

But reconstructing flood-damaged infrastructure has been the most costly project.

And because some work was done by council employees and not contractors, council will have to forfeit part of the subsidies offered by the State Government's Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements.

Council will miss out on about $7.5million in staff wages.

Acting mayor tops council travel bill

COUNCILLORS clocked up more than $9000 in travelling expenses between July and September.

Acting Mayor Tony Williams was king of the road, with more than $3000 in car, train or cab charges during the three-month period.

His entire travelling expenses, which also included conferences, accommodation and flights, were the highest compared to the mayor and other councillors at $3800.

Meanwhile, Mayor Margaret Strelow's expenses came in second, totalling $3000.

But she had by far the most costly flights at $1300.

Conferences attended by Cr Greg Belz, Cr Williams and the mayor cost $2500 in total.

Topics:  rockhampton regional council


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