MAYOR Mark Jamieson vows to improve on the previous council's budget and ease the burden on local ratepayers.
For the past two weeks, councillors have endured a succession of meetings as they focus on delivering the first budget of the new council on June 27.
Cr Jamieson said they had paid close attention to last year's budget and were keen to find savings and implement changes.
"If we left everything the same, council would need to raise rates by 5.1% just to cover costs, but we know people are doing it tough, and we will find savings," he said.
"It's too early to tell (where savings will be found) at this stage.
"We're just going through briefings and asking council executive staff a lot of questions, the way in which money was spent in the past and whether we're going to do that in the future.
"It's about ensuring we don't pass on any increase considered unreasonable.
"In the end it's about having a balanced approach to our potential income and how we're going to spend it in the best possible way.
"There's myriad things council funds and they all need to be very carefully looked at.
"It's about looking at it line by line, then understanding where there are opportunities for savings."
Cr Jamieson admitted it had been tough given the tight time frame, but the councillors were determined to strengthen the economy and deliver quality services.
"We face some tough challenges: limited time to finalise budget due to delayed election, declining revenue from rates and less interest from investments," he said.
"The first council delivered responsible budgets, and this council will be just as committed to deliver value for money for ratepayers.
"I'm very enthusiastic about the manner in which councillors and executives and staff are collaborating to deliver a top budget."
Cr Jamieson said as the council was ahead of its forecast operating position, he was confident in the council's economic standing.
"We've had the benefit in the last few months of higher than anticipated interest rates, which have helped investment funds," he said.
"There will be a levelling out of that coming out of the end of the financial year and we're not anticipating interest rates will be high yielding in the next budget years.
"Our revenue streams focus on general rates and a few small changes. We're mindful of the increases."
Cr Jamieson will travel to Brisbane today to meet the Coast's State Members of Parliament.
"I am determined to work with my state counterparts to get the best results for the region so it can reach its potential," he said.