West Coast council's finances healthy despite Covid

The council ended the year to June with a surplus of $2.34 million. Photo: West Coast Regional...
The council ended the year to June with a surplus of $2.34 million. Photo: West Coast Regional Council
The West Coast Regional Council's finances are in good shape and tracking well for the new financial year - despite the ravages of Covid-19 on financial markets.

The council ended the year to June with a surplus of $2.34 million, and its investment fund of $10 million has earned $356,247 in the past three months.

It now stands at $10,547,000.

The fund took a hit in March when the sharemarket plummeted in the coronavirus crash and, though it recovered to some extent as markets rallied, returns were still less than expected.

Where the council has made up lost financial ground is through its pest control business unit, Vector Control Services (VCS).

The company made a net surplus of $1.5 million for the year - $1  million more than expected, according to operations manager Randall Beal.

That was largely due to aerial 1080 and other pest control contracts.

"It's difficult to forecast that revenue because the contracting year doesn't line up with our financial year.

"If you get a couple of operations postponed because of weather it can push the contract through to the following year and that's what happened here."

VCS had brought in significant profits to the council over the past 13 years, Mr Beal said.

The council's finances will from now on be subject to additional scrutiny from its new audit and risk committee.

It resolved last year to set up the committee and to eventually appoint an independent chairperson following the practice of most other councils in New Zealand.

Meetings of the audit and risk committee will be open to the public and it convenes for the first time next Tuesday.

By Lois Williams
Local democracy reporter

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