Council on top of its finances

BASS Coast Shire Council CEO Paul Buckley confirmed council is not being investigated by the Victorian Auditor General.
Mr Buckley made this clear at the October meeting, following allegations made in September.
In fact, Mr Buckley reported a positive financial result in the 2017-18 annual report.
The report showed a $10 million surplus compared to a budgeted surplus of $3.9 million.
The report also highlighted some of council’s other achievements, including the completion of 116 capital works projects and successful advocacy for the shire.
Mayor Cr Pamela Rothfield said the results in the annual report reflected a successful and productive year, highlighted by a focus on closer collaboration with the community.
“Council has been working with the community on many issues ranging from new off-leash beach areas for dogs in Kilcunda and Cape Paterson, to developing the Active Bass Coast Plan, and collecting the community’s feedback in the development of the Cowes to Stony Point Car Ferry Business Case,” she said.
Mr Buckley said the biggest project of the year was the refurbishment of the Wonthaggi Union Community Arts Centre.
“The $2.2 million project included replacing all 424 of the 35 year-old seats in the auditorium, lighting and rigging upgrade, installation of a lift to boost accessibility and new solar panel system, amongst many other improvements to the centre. The positive feedback from the public following this project shows the centre is an important community asset which is being well used and enjoyed,” he said.
However, Cr Les Larke pushed for council to note the $10 million gap in the other reserves fund, which is stated to amount to $40.087 million.
To the motion, he added the words: other reserves are in essence a reflection of surpluses from prior years that council has set aside to allocate to some future activity. The existence of the reserves does not necessarily mean the council has the cash funds available to allocate to the reserves purpose.
“At the September 2018 ordinary meeting, I said at the time there was a gap of some $10 million as of June 30, 2018, between the other reserves balance of $40 million and funds available above liquidity,” Cr Larke said.
“Since that time, the preamble wording in the annual report has been changed. In essence, that means any reader of council’s financial statements or any member of our community will not be led to the understanding that council has cash in the bank to cover other reserves.”
Cr Bruce Kent chose to support Cr Larke’s amendment.
“Cr Larke has been trying for a long time to get this through. My understanding is people in the community may not realise that reserves are not backed by cash. I agree if the community doesn’t know this, they should be educated prior to coming to council,” he said.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=26419

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