SMART budgeting means Uralla Shire Council will not have to pull out of the New England Joint Organisation to fund its upcoming byelection.
After ill health forced councillor Kevin Ward to resign, the cost to send residents back to the polling booths is pitted at $40,000.
Super-group membership costs $5000, forward-planning means Uralla can afford to stay in the council lobby group.
“We’ve taken $15,000 out of pre-budgeted funds to be put into the byelection because NEJO membership is only $5000 each year,” Uralla mayor Michael Pearce said.
“We’ve only had two meetings with NEJO and we’re lucky to have the relationships we have working with six experienced mayors from six experienced councils.”
Narrabri, Inverell, Armidale, Tenterfield, Glen Innes and Moree are members of the exclusive club, Uralla left the NAMOI Unlimited JO earlier this year after persistent flirtation from New England councils.
The cost to join NAMOI Unlimited is $33,000 annually.
“I’m disappointed we left NAMOI but that’s life, council voted accordingly and I have to accept that – we plan to have an annual joint meeting if we have projects on the fringes of our boundaries so we’re not disconnected,” Cr Pearce said.
Uralla hopes to use the JO to increase state and federal funding opportunities to the region, after a Morrison Low forecast showed the council’s budget will fall into the red by 2020 without significant changes to service levels or rates.
The council has established a budget and finance review committee.