Jetty ramp cost blowout

COFFS HARBOUR councillors need to find a way to plug a $110,000 hole in the budget for the temporary groyne at the Jetty boat ramp.

Ongoing problems with the groyne that was built late last year from more than 30 sand-filled geotextile tubes, have nearly doubled the budgeted costs for the work.

The council allocated $150,000 to the project in March last year but this week's council papers show the anticipated final cost to be about $285,000.

Unfavourable weather, vandalism and storm surge are blamed for the cost blowout, which will be reduced by $25,000 thanks to a grant from the NSW Maritime Authority. Extra expenditure is also anticipated for dredging work at the boat ramp.

The 2004/05 budget allocation of $20,000 was spent in the first six months of the financial year and considerable dredging work was carried out in January and February. The anticipated cost for the year is $40,000.

Problems have also arisen in the council's legal budget, with expenditure already exceeding the annual allocation of $100,000.

Cases involving illegal clearing and removal of trees are blamed for the added expense and councillors will be asked to find an extra $100,000 for legal expenses.

Despite these problems, the overall budget picture as at January 31 looks better, with the estimated deficit of $507,161 for the year reduced to $393,412 thanks to more than $200,000 of extra financial assistant grants to the coun- cil. ? DAVID MOASE

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