Bass Coast,

Outcomes point to positive future

There were no surprises when it came to Bass Coast Shire Council’s end of financial year performance reports presented to the September Meeting, with both savings made and challenges identified in the Financial and Performance Statements 2014-15.

Council achieved direct savings of $2.78 million compared to the 2014-15 Budget and also achieved a $6.79 million surplus against what was a budgeted deficit of $1.55 million.

The major factors contributing to the surplus were the early payment of Commonwealth Financial Assistance Grants, reduced staffing costs and a number of assets handed over from developers to Council.

Operational savings came in the form of reduced employee costs through an organisational realignment, as well as ongoing efficiencies made through service reviews, with more reviews to be undertaken in 2015-16.

Bass Coast Mayor, Cr Kimberley Brown, said Council’s end of year results continue to reflect the challenges Council identified when it released the Long Term Financial Plan (LTFP) earlier in the year.

“We’ve seen positive outcomes, but also identified areas for improvement,” Cr Brown said.

“Overall, we were very pleased to see significant improvements to Council’s financial position and an ongoing commitment to finding productivity efficiencies, which are starting to pay off.

“A significant challenge highlighted in the Financial and Performance Statements for 2014-15, however, is the need to increase our investment towards renewing aging infrastructure, whilst also providing new facilities for our growing population.

“Trying to achieve this is difficult when there is increasing pressure to contain operating costs and remain a low-rating council.”

Cr Brown said being a low-rating municipality for many years means Council hasn’t raised the revenue required to meet its aging infrastructure renewal needs, let alone have enough to invest into new capital projects.

“This was reflected again with Council not meeting our asset renewal needs last financial year,” Cr Brown said.

“We are taking proactive steps to ensure we will meet these challenges, with the adoption of the LTFP and we are now starting to see some of the benefits from choosing this direction.

“Council’s focus is on ensuring it remains a low-rating Council, but also improves on its long-term financial position.”

Cr Brown said in relation to Performance Management, this is the first year councils must report performance under the Local Government Performance and Reporting Framework.

“I am pleased to report that the Performance Statement demonstrates that Council sits within the permissible range for all of the six Sustainability Capacity Indicators and for six of the 10 Service Performance Indicators; exceeds the permissible range for two of the 12 related to Home and Community Care Services; and is below the permissible range for only two of those indicators,” Cr Brown said.

“Council also sits within the permissible range for 11 of the 12 Financial Performance Indicators.

“The one indicator that sits below the permissible range relates to Asset Renewal, which Council has addressed with the recently adopted Long Term Financial Plan.”

Council’s Financial and Performance Statements 2014-15 will be available on Council’s website as part of the September Ordinary Meeting Minutes at 5.00pm this Friday, 18 September.