Byron Shire Council is today expected to consider its budget for the 2020/21 financial year.
Byron Shire Council is today expected to consider its budget for the 2020/21 financial year.

Council’s financial position for the next year revealed

AN OVERALL surplus has been forecast in Byron Shire Council’s budget for the 2020/21 financial year.

The council is set to consider adopting the budget this afternoon.

While the council’s financial results for the 2019/20 financial year are not finalised, staff said in a report that will go before today’s meeting it is “likely the budget position at 30 June 2020 has improved”.

“Whilst council’s financial position and unrestricted cash balance has been impacted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic as reported at the 31 March 2020 Quarterly Budget Review, a preliminary review of Council’s budget position as at 30 June 2020 has been conducted,” staff said in the report.

As of its March 31 quarterly review, the council was projecting a $976,300 general fund deficit.

But this “may have improved by $626,300 in unrestricted cash terms”, staff said.

The final June 30 quarter review will be reported to the council in August.

For 2020/21, the overall budget result was initially forecast to be $376,20.

But after the draft budget was placed on public exhibition, this was amended to a forecast $356,800.

Following public exhibition, these changes were made to the draft budget:

  • The council received half of its 2020/2021 Financial Assistance Grant entitlement before June 30. This revenue will carry forward to the new financial year and operating revenue was reduced by $1.7 million.
  • The draft budget included an increase to the mayor and councillor allowances by 2.5 per cent. But the Local Government Remuneration Tribunal has not approved any increase, resulting in a $5800 saving. In a report before today’s meeting, the budget for mayor and councillor catering at meetings is proposed to be reduced by $10,100.
  • The council’s original estimates for insurance were $67,700 more than required.
  • The budget for the interest-only repayments on a loan relating to the remediation of the old Mullumbimby Hospital site was reduced by $88,000.
  • An estimated $5000 expenditure for NE Hinterland Koala Conservation Project grant funding was removed as this project was completed in the 2019/20 financial year.
  • A provision of $150,000 for bridge capital works was added.