Coffs Harbour City Council has once again achieved all of the NSW Office of Local Government’s benchmarks for its financial performance, the Council has announced.
The Audit Office of NSW presented the news through its ‘Conduct of the Audit Report’ at a recent Council meeting.
“The auditors also confirmed that Council’s cash and debt position is also sound,” said Council’s Group Leader Financial Services and Logistics, Mark Griffioen.
“Total cash and investments grew by $28.8m to $254.043m in 2020-21 and total borrowings reduced by $16.1m to $107.46m. Of these, $95.27m relates to the Water and Sewerage Funds, which is being paid off through water and sewerage user charges.”
“In summary, Council’s net debt position has improved $44.2m in just this one financial year,” he said.
Despite the challenges faced by Council and the community over the financial year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a series of natural disasters, Council’s prudent financial management has meant it has maintained a financially sustainable and responsible operating position, Mr Griffioen said.
Overall, Council recorded a ‘Net Operating Result’ for the 2020-21 year of a surplus of $34.203m.
“What needs to be kept in mind is that much of this surplus is funding that has been received for capital projects,” added Mr Griffioen.
“A more accurate measure of Council’s underlying financial health is the ‘Net Operating Result Before Grants and Contributions Provided for Capital Purposes’. For Council in the 2020-21 financial year this was a surplus of $0.529m.
“This result also reflects the most important of Council’s audited performance ratios – the ‘Operating Performance Ratio’ which was a positive 4.76%. The reason why this is the most important ratio is because it doesn’t include revenue that Council has received to spend on constructing assets. As this capital expenditure is not included in the ‘Operating Performance Ratio’ it provides a better indicator of whether Council is operating in a financially sustainable manner.”
He said Council was aware that it needs to remain vigilant in its financial management as the impacts of COVID-19 continue to be felt in the current financial year.