5 biggest financial burdens in Lismore council’s budget
THE tough draft operations budget proposed for the next financial year indicates Lismore City Council will be operating at a heavy loss.
Starting out with an estimated $282,000 cash deficit the 2020/21 financial year, staff have had to make several major cuts and fee increases to try to inject some necessary funding to keep the council afloat.
Councillor Vanessa Ekins, who supported the draft budget going to public exhibition, said it was a hard but necessary decision to cut some of the key projects outlined for the next financial year.
"There's a lot of hard stuff here and it's really disappointing to see some (of those projects) gone," Cr Ekins said.
"But it's not just projects we're losing from this one, there's also job losses and cutbacks in council services.
"This is going to have a big effect.
"But it's this position other councils are in across NSW. It's been happening for some time."
The draft budget reveals council staff estimate several assets will operate at a loss in the next financial year.
The Lismore Regional Airport is expected to lose $757,300, while the Northern Rivers Quarry and Asphalt facility is projected to churn through $412,400.
But the Northern Rivers Waste Disposal, Roads project and major recreational and cultural facility management are set to be the council's biggest financial burden, with both operating at losses of $6.205 million, $6.133 million and $5.288 million respectively.
Staff have also estimated the COVID-19 pandemic is projected to cost the council up to $1.5 million in lost revenue because of closed council assets, like the Lismore Regional Art Gallery and GSAC.
However, the council's acting finance manager, Tim Gilmore, said things might not be as dire as currently forecast.
"We will know more about our cash forecasts by the end of the month," Mr Gilmore said.
"I think we'll be in a better way than we thought we were because of the way the government has structured their stimulus package."