Increased rate income but rise in expenses
A financial report showing increased income and a stronger cash balance has been received by Baw Baw Shire after external auditors signed off on council’s financial position and performance indicators.
The report presented to council showed its 2018 income was almost $2.5 million more than last year, but expenses also were $3.5 million more.
Key financial data outlined in the report showed council would receive $93.2 million income while expenses totalled $78 million, leaving a surplus of $15.2 million.
Council’s cash balance for the year is $39.6 million, up from $36.8 million last year, while total equity has increased from $640 million to $679 million in the 12-month period.
The report said increased income was largely due to rates from supplementary valuations.
Capital spending was under budget during 2017/8 due to delays in works associated with the West Gippsland Art Centre, new early learning centre in Warragul and a number of road projects that have been carried forward to the 2018/19 financial year.
The comprehensive result of $39.9 million was $23.747 million higher than the 2017, largely because of a $24.6 million adjustment in asset valuations.
The revaluation of land, buildings, bridges and major culverts followed a comprehensive review of council’s assets that included an assessment of asset condition.
Asset valuations showed land assets to be valued at $110.3 million; $73 million for buildings; and, $23 million for bridges and major culverts.
The performance statement outlined council’s performance against a range of service delivery, financial and sustainable measures.
The report said financial performance measures reflected a favourable result. Loans and borrowing compared to rates were down 15 per cent.
Cr Danny Goss said council’s financial position was the result of “continuous hard work over a long period of time by staff.”
He said council’s income was up, mainly because of supplementary rate income.
But, he said expenses also were up because of an additional $1.2 million for Trafalgar landfill aftercare requirements and $1.2 million more in employee costs because of one off redundancy payments and maternity leave payments.
Cr Goss said the financial statement showed a $15 million surplus, while the cash flow statement showed where money had been spent.
“The money has been spent on capital works…it is money to provide services that ratepayers expect,” he said.
Cr Goss said the performance statement set out indicators that compared council’s performance with other metrics.
Cr Mikaela Power said the surplus had been used to deliver services to ratepayers.
She said utilisation of aquatic facilities was up 12 per cent which showed people were using the new leisure centre to its full extent.
Animal management prosecutions are down 67 per cent, which Cr Power said showed education campaigns and a push to get animals registered were working.
She said participation in maternal and child health services by Aboriginal children was up 19 per cent. “It is good to know they are getting a good start to life.”
Cr Power said the performance indicators also showed the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal had upheld 57 per cent of council decisions “which shows we are making good decisions and when they get to VCAT, they are upheld.”
Cr Tricia Jones said the financial report showed council was in a position to meet its asset renewal obligations, while also meeting loan borrowings.
Mayor Joe Gauci said the financial reports had been reviewed by internal and external auditors as well as the Victorian Auditor General’s Office.
“There’s no way any facts and figures can be hidden in there. In a rate capped environment, I think we are doing very well,” he said.