21pc leap in council spending
By CATHERINE CHAN
THE Urban Council is expected to increase its expenditure by 21 per cent to $5.1 billion while maintaining a surplus of $47 million in the coming fiscal year.
Mr Brook Bernacchi, chairman of the council's finance select committee, said staff costs would take up approximately 57 per cent of the budget.
Committee member Mr Stephen Lau Man-lung said this was also the major reason for the huge rise in expenditure.
''Salary adjustments aside, the council has also to back-pay an increment to the Urban Services Department staff, whose pay and benefits are on a par with those of civil servants,'' Mr Lau said.
Mr Bernacchi said operational expenditure would take 21 per cent of the budget, while capital projects would get 17 per cent.
The remaining five per cent is designated for special expenditure and other contingencies.
Revenues for 1993-94 are estimated at $5.15 billion, an increase of $201 million, or four per cent, over the current fiscal year.
Council chairman Dr Ronald Leung Ding-bong said that, based on current projections, the council's financial situation was quite healthy, with reserves expected to be greater than $1.5 billion at the end of March 1994.
The increase in expenditure, which equals $889 million, would result in a drop in surplus in the coming year, he added.