Council in surplus

A $3.2 million surplus has been recorded by the Waitaki District Council for the nine months of this financial year, well ahead of the $549,000 deficit it has projected for the 12 months at the end of June.

While that looks healthy for ratepayers, a lot of the surplus is money allocated or raised for specific projects which has, so far, not been spent. It cannot be used to offset rates.

A third-quarter (to the end of March) financial report for a council finance, audit and risk committee meeting on Monday, shows the council had income of $33.811 million, of which $18.437 million was from rates, $4.375 million from user charges and $4.793 million from grants and donations.

Expenditure was $30.538 million, with $8.355 million for depreciation and amortisation and $6.734 million in personnel costs.

The council has about $11 million invested in the bank for various terms, and about $2 million on call.

Some of the effects on the third-quarter budgets included subsidies from the New Zealand Transport Agency coming in earlier than expected, increased income from rates penalties and lower personnel costs with several key vacancies, such as the Opera House director, not being filled.

The overall financial position of the council remained strong, accounting manager Ian Wells said.

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