Council has deficit blow-out

MONEY is in tight supply at the Bellingen Shire Council.

A quarterly review of the council’s budget revealed its deficit had blown out at the end of March to $849,600.

In a report tabled at Wednesday’s Council meeting, Finance Manager Susan Glasson pointed out the council’s adopted deficit had been $55,600, but the cost of works carried over from the previous financial year had come in at $496,500.

Further, Ms Glasson pointed out unexpected budget expenses and funding shortfalls had added $181,900 to the deficit in the September quarter last year. A further $13,000 was added to the deficit in the December quarter and an additional $102,600 in the March quarter.

Council’s corporate service’s manager, Peter Wilson, said council was still expecting to have close to $2 million in working funds to carry them through to the end of June.  

“But this increase in our deficit just shows how difficult it is for all councils to balance their budgets in the current economic climate,” Mr Wilson said.

Among the unbudgeted big ticket items which had contributed to the deficit blow-out in the March quarter were an additional $33,700 in expenses following a review of the plant replacement schedule and a $15,000 overrun in the cost of the Urunga SES building.

In the three months to the end of March, the cost of advertising had been $15,000 over budget; the unplanned construction of a columbarium wall at Dorrigo Cemetery had cost $12,000 and $14,400 had been allocated to additional storemen’s positions at the Raleigh works depot.

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