Final bill for council election comes in under the budget

THE cost of this year's Southern Downs Regional Council election came in nearly $70,000 under budget, a report to councillors reveals.

Documents to be tabled at today's general council meeting in Warwick show the Electoral Commission of Queensland (ECQ) - which councils pay to run their elections - originally estimated the cost of the April postal ballot at $190,453.

Council set aside a budget of $200,000 as a result, but the final bill came in at just $122,004 as a result of what ECQ has called "cost parallels".

The ECQ says the saving was due to former Premier Anna Bligh's decision to shift council elections from the scheduled date of March 31 - a week after the State election called for March 24 - to April 28.

The move was blasted by councils at the time for throwing their elections into disarray, with Ms Bligh accused of opportunism in setting the State poll date, based on a final report into the 2010-11 floods then still due for release.

Mayor Peter Blundell yesterday welcomed the cost saving but reiterated earlier council concerns about the confusion caused by delaying the council poll.

"I feel this resulted in lower than expected votes being returned, but I still strongly support the postal voting method," Cr Blundell said.

Today's report to council shows an ECQ bill for election set-up costs of $18,077 was received by the council in May, with a further invoice for election expenses of $103,927 received on October 5.

Cr Blundell said the resulting saving would be re-directed back into council's general revenue.



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