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Council reports budget surplus for first four months

9 December 2013

Council reports budget surplus for first four months

The Palmerston North City Council has recorded an improved operating position of $2.5 million better than budgeted for the first four months of the 2013/14 financial year.

Chief executive Paddy Clifford says while it was indicative of a good start to the year there are likely to be challenges ahead.

“I’m pleased to be reporting a positive result. However, continued pressures on services and uncertain service delivery costs means staff remain focussed on making savings wherever possible. An example of this is the recent change in rubbish and recycling collection routes.”

Paddy Clifford says staff are striving to meet the allocated operating budget however there have been some delays that are outside of Council’s control regarding planned projects such as the wastewater desludging project.

“Overall though, the city is on a sounder financial footing with increased financial headroom in case of emergency and for unexpected projects.”

“Council is focused on ensuring its long-term position is sustainable. We do this by including in rates an amount for debt repayment, leaving financial capacity or ‘headroom’ for future generations and through recognising the principles of intergenerational equity.”

Chief financial officer Grant Elliott said the lower level of expenses than predicted needs to be considered in the context of the whole year.

“We remain confident that the full year controllable operating budget will be achieved, however with no adverse weather events to date and significant budgeted expenditure yet to be incurred, lower expenses have resulted. These savings are likely to be utilised in remaining months and so we need to continue focussing on restricting spending and looking for the most economical way to deliver our services”.

Financial accountant Keith Allan told Councillors at today’s Finance and Performance Committee meeting that the year’s Capital Expenditure programme has commenced with $3.9 million incurred in the period against a budget of $6.8 million. The overall capital programme budget for the year is $38 million.

He says there have been some delays that are outside of Council’s control planned projects such as the construction of The Globe and the interim interregional bus terminal as well as delays to the construction of the conservatory in the Esplanade and the Ashhurst Wastewater rising project.

Keith Allan says the report is being presented to Council at a later stage in the financial year than is normal due to the recent 2013 elections.

Copies of the Financial Report can be found in the Finance and Performance Committee Agenda at pncc.govt.nz.

ENDS

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