19 March 2020
Councillors adopted the 2018-19 audited financial statements at yesterday’s meeting, with the documents to be now posted to Council’s website and placed in the libraries across the Shire.
The financial statements and audit report are usually presented with the Council’s annual report at end the of November by convention, however due to a delay in the revaluation of Council’s land and building assets, an extension through until 28 February was granted by the Office of Local Government – a deadline that was met.
The audited financial statements show a net consolidated deficit of $8.92 million and a net operating deficit of $14.092 million in the General Fund for the period, with additional necessary road maintenance activities, and changes to waste operations among a number of areas where costs increased.
Bega Valley Shire Council General Manager, Leanne Barnes, said as outlined in the Council report, the 2018-19 year was certainly a challenging one.
“There is no doubt that balancing the community’s needs and desires with the available revenue proved difficult, especially in light of the Tathra and Yankees Gap fire emergencies and subsequent ongoing recovery period,” Ms Barnes said.
“Our focus is always on doing the best we can to support our community and sometimes this means undertaking tasks and meeting needs that weren’t foreseen - that was certainly the case during 2018-19 and as we know too well has become an ongoing pattern for us this year as well.
“Obviously we are always striving to operate within our means and we are consequently implementing a financial improvement program that includes changes to the quarterly reporting process and a renewed focus on maintaining costs to budget.
“While the overall 2018-19 result was disappointing, the statements did also include the positive news that Council’s net worth increased by $37 million, cash holdings also increased, and we continue to maintain outstanding debts well below the Code of Accounting benchmark.
“With our relatively small ratepayer base meaning increasing revenue significantly is simply not possible, Council has for several years indicated that rationalisation of some asset types, and the divestment of some land and buildings may be necessary moving forward.
“We are currently working through our 2020 budget and the proposed 2021 budget to identify savings, especially in light of the currently unfunded impact of the compounding fire/flood/ COVID-19 disasters, with reports on a refocus of the operational plan being prepared for the consideration of Council in the near future,” Ms Barnes said.
To view the audited financial statements head to www.begavalley.nsw.gov.au/budget