Council fails to spend $20m allocated to capital projects during 2019/20

$3.7 million in unspent funds for Airport Enterprise Park Land Development works is among $20 million not spent on allocated projects by Council over the past financial year. Photo: Emma Darbin.

 

MORE than $20 million allocated to important regional projects has been left unspent by Coffs Harbour City Council at the close of the 2019/2020 financial year.

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A report on the funding misallocation was presented to Council at its recent ordinary meeting on Thursday, 10 September.

The report summarised the unspent funds from the last financial year, which are proposed to be ‘revoted’ from the 2019/20 Operational Plan budgets into the 2020/21 Operational Plan budgets.

The report recommended that $2,319,214 of operational expenditure and $20,012,579 of capital expenditure be revoted.

Of the $20 million in capital revotes, there are some substantial projects which comprise the majority of the figure including Airport Enterprise Park Land Development works ($3.7m), the Cultural and Civic Space project ($3.5m), and Woolgoolga Beach Reserve works ($1.5m).

The report stated ‘COVID-19 has played a significant role in delaying some operating programs and capital projects’.

Cr Sally Townley had an issue with the “quantum of the figure”, and some of the projects which had not yet been completed by Council.

“$20 million dollars of revotes, I guess we are more or less heading in a downward trend, but the trend is not moving as fast as what we would like,” Cr Townley said.

The report stated that the impact of the revotes on Council’s Net Operating Result was a deterioration of $2,148,000.

“The adopted deficit of $5,058,000 will be impacted by this deterioration resulting in a revised budget deficit of $7,206,000,” the report said.

“The monthly and quarterly budget reviews will need to be monitored closely with a view to improving this result back to a balanced net operating position.”

Councillors voted unanimously to adopt the revote report, and added an amendment to bring back a report to Council outlining options to amend the 2020/21 Delivery Program to return to the original budget forecast of a $5,058 million budget deficit.

 

By Emma DARBIN

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