ES surplus bigger by $4.3m above budget

Environment Southland has reported a $4.6million surplus — $4.3million more than budgeted.

In a report presented by Environment Southland finance manager Tanea Hawkins at the ES organisational performance and audit committee on Wednesday, it showed for the six months ending December 31, 2020, expenses were less than was forecast.

The council had budgeted for a $3.276million deficit in its operating expenses but had received $1.072million more in other income.

Expenses were also down $839,000 less than expected, which included costs for people, $345,000 less; contractors and consultants, $127,000 less; and operational costs, $367,000 less than what was budgeted.

Income from unrealised investments, which had previously not been budgeted, came in at $2.398million.

The forecast for the next six months showed the council was expecting to finish 2021 with a year-end deficit of $7.585million in operating expenses, $268,000 less than initially budgeted.

While other areas were reducing in costs Ms Hawkins said $300,000 to $400,000, of the forecasted $978,000 total increase in contractor and consultant costs forecast for the rest of the year, was due to the increase in river works costs which were carried forward from last year’s flood.

"River repairs that weren’t completed last year and are not insurable," she said.

"That will be funded from the carryovers and reserves of the river areas."

Vacancies at ES were also going to affect contractor and consultant costs, with some of the work now having to be completed by specialists outside the regional council.

If income from the investment portfolio remained close to current levels, the forecast total deficit for the year would be $460,000 as opposed to a predicted $2.728million deficit.


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