SUBSIDIES, grants, forestry and surplus WasteNet income were some of the major contributing factors in the Southland District Council’s $7.4 million financial year surplus, a draft annual report states.
Southland District Council’s Finance and Assurance Committee approved the Draft Annual Report 2019/2020 at its meeting on Tuesday after being given the green light by Audit New Zealand (Audit NZ).
The annual report originally had to be adopted by October 31, however Covid-19 meant the council was given an extension until December 31.
Total revenue was $7.4 million over budget, primarily due to increased New Zealand Transport Agency subsidies ($900,000), forestry harvesting income ($400,000), grants ($2 million), forestry revaluation ($1.9 million), vested assets ($700,000) and council’s share of income from WasteNet, not budgeted for ($1.3 million).
These increases were offset by outstanding building consent fees, which were considered by auditors to be deferred revenue of $900,000 rather than income.
Audit NZ associate audit director Dereck Ollsson said the deferred revenue was in relation to 3288 outstanding consents.
The report states the consents were not initially reported by council due to staff having “difficulty in ascertaining accurate data to support a value”.
Council staff accepted this finding and changed the report to reflect it.
The draft report states council’s total expenditure was $4.3 million above budget.
Chairman Bruce Robertson said the extra spend was predominantly due to the increased costs associated with emergency roading works as a result of the February 2020 flooding event, a cost of $1.3 million.
It was also due to an increase of $1 million in employee-related costs which were primarily due to additional building control staff who were needed to manage workflows and accreditation, as well as new positions to enable council to manage legislative changes.
These changes involved water reforms, unbudgeted expenditure, and increased costs most of which were associated with government-funded projects including Milford Opportunities and Stewart Island/Rakiura Opportunities.
The costs were offset by council’s contribution to the Pyramid Bridge rebuild being lower than budgeted.
The report would be adopted by council on November 18 before being released to the community.