The Shire of Exmouth has forecast a $48,147 surplus and committed to increased spending on community engagement projects after passing its 2019-20 budget at a council meeting late last month.

The council’s latest annual budget reflects the expectations laid out by the community in the 2018 Community Perceptions Survey with a focus on footpaths, waste and recycling and boat ramp facilities.

Shire president Matthew Niikkula said it was a financially responsible budget, which delivered for the community.

“It has been a difficult budget with declining revenues and the need to boost our reserves so that we can ensure we can maintain, repair and replace ageing infrastructure in the future,” he said.

“We had to balance the need for ongoing financial responsibility with the community’s desire for more spending on local footpaths, a focus on better waste management and recycling, improvements to our boat ramps and more community based projects.”

The Shire ended the 2018-19 financial year with a closing surplus of more than $4.9 million, $1.9 million of which was transferred to reserves for the preservation of assets.

Mr Niikula said the higher than forecast closing surplus could be attributed to a number factors including early receipt of a Financial Assistance Grant instalment, increased revenue from airport operations, interest earnings from investments and other State funded grants.

“Also contributing was reduced expenditure from operations including reduced depreciation and capital works projects, the majority of which was rolled over and included in the 2019/20 budget,” he said.

The key initiatives outlined in the 2019-20 budget included $200,000 for footpaths, $618,000 for waste and recycling, $20,000 for solar lighting at the Tantabiddi and Bundegi boat ramps and $200,000 for the Exmouth multi-purpose bike facility.