Budget back in black

LIGHT Regional Council is now back in the black, after its 2017/18 draft budget was reworked to incorporate the impact of the recently announced federal budget.

Presented to a special meeting on Tuesday night, council’s draft budget for the next financial year now results in a modest operating surplus of $49,000.

The figure is almost a $650,000 improvement on the $600,000 deficit originally predicted in council’s Long Term Financial Plan, adopted mid-2016, but also an improvement on the $354,000 operating deficit presented to a special council meeting last month.

In a report presented at Tuesday’s meeting, council’s finance manager, Joe Scordo, said the draft budget now brings into account the financial impacts of recent Federal Government funding announcements and the reconsideration of several budget assumptions.

“The result is positively impacted by additional grant funding to local government, as announced in the 2017/2018 Federal Budget, and the bringing forward of income from the Kapunda Retirement Village, in accordance with the Occupier Agreement,” Mr Scordo said.

The draft budget, which is now due to be released for public consultation on Wednesday, still factors in a 2.5 per cent increase in rates on existing properties, and an increase in the minimum rate from $835 to $855.

Capital expenditure is budgeted at $14.62 million, including more than $12.3 million on new projects.

A total of $840,000 will be spent on the Kapunda Town Centre ‘village square’ project, $1.3 million towards the $2.55 million Kapunda Retirement Village and $2.4 million has been allocated towards the proposed $4.87 million Freeling Agriculture Multi-Purpose Centre, which remains dependent on a successful Federal Government grant.

Under council’s Long Term Financial Plan (for the next four years) – also being released on Wednesday – deficit operating results are predicted from 2018/19 through 2021/22, largely due to additional interest and depreciation expense associated with the Accelerated Infrastructure Program and the Kapunda Retirement Village development.

Predicted operating results return to surplus from the 2022/23 financial year, at which time interest costs will have abated following the completion of the major works, and proceeds from the divestment of the Gawler Water Reuse Scheme will have been used to repay loans.

A special council meeting is currently due to be held on Tuesday, July 11, at 6pm, at the Kapunda Council chambers, to receive submissions and questions from the community in relation to its draft 2017/18 annual budget and 2018-27 Long Term Financial Plan proposals.

The public consultation period will conclude on Tuesday, July 11, with council to consider submissions and subsequent outcomes on Tuesday, July 18.

Ellouise Crawford

@ElleCrawford90

Ellouise Crawford joined The Bunyip in April, 2010, while completing a Bachelor of Journalism at the University of South Australia. Ellouise wrote The Bunyip’s Playford Times before joining the editorial team full-time in late-2011. She now covers the Light Regional Council region and enjoys writing about Gawler’s strong heritage, as well as its many passionate and inspirational residents. Ellouise grew up in Gawler and now lives in Wasleys with her family.

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