Close up of Australian money, twenty and fifty dollar notes and gold and silver coins scattered on pile.
Close up of Australian money, twenty and fifty dollar notes and gold and silver coins scattered on pile.

Council’s ‘huge turnaround’ in financial fortunes

LISMORE City Council has pulled a financial rabbit out of its hat substantially reducing its net operating loss, before grants and developer contributions, from more than $8 million the previous year to a little over $600,000 this year.

It’s an amazing reversal of fortunes given that revenue was down due to COVID-19 and the fire at the Lismore recycling and recovery centre.

Deputy Mayor Neil Marks described it as a “huge turnaround”.

“This result is important for our community and local democracy. As we have seen recently, if a council can’t control it finances, the State Government will step in and suspend elected councillors and appoint an administrator removing all local representation,” he said.

“Our result shows that Lismore City Council can make the tough decisions and follow stringent financial guidelines to improve our financial position. This means, as a community, we have control over our own destiny.

“What has made it even more impressive is that, as the independent auditor noted, this was achieved when council suffered a large reduction in expected revenue due to COVID-19 and the fire at recycling & recovery facility.”

Council’s audited 2020 Financial Statement, now on public exhibition, shows council substantially reduced its net operating loss, before grants and developer contributions, from more than $8 million the previous year to a little over $600,000 this year.

The Financial Statement also reveals total revenue for the year was $141.5 million, up from $9.9 million the previous year, while expenditure was successfully reduced by $4 million to $118.9 million.

Over the last three financial years, council has also reversed a worrying downward trend to surpass key State Government benchmarks for financial stability.

However, despite this year’s strong financial performance, council still faces significant challenges in addressing its legacy Infrastructure, Asset Management and Asset Renewal backlog.

These historic backlogs have built up over previous councils, with the three long-term indicators this year remaining well below the State Government’s benchmark.

“What this shows is that while we have achieved a good year-on-year result, as a community we must start to look at ways to reduce the backlog, particularly on our local roads,” Cr Marks said.


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