Council’s $32.4 million surplus

WELLINGTON Shire Council produced an operating surplus of $32.4 million for the first quarter of the financial year.

The result, for the three months to September 30, was ahead of the budgeted $31.9 million.

At $47.5 million, operating income was higher than expected ($47.3 million in the budget) because of additional rates received after increased property value from the finalisation of subdivisions and property improvements.

Expenditure ($16.1 million) was slightly below budget ($17.2 million) because of the delay in the timing of payments of a number of projects, including the voluntary assistance program for owners of property along the coast affected by changes to Wellington Planning Scheme.

At $1.1 million, capital income is below budget ($1.8 million) because of the delay in receiving the final grant claim for the West Sale Airport upgrade due to wet weather hampering its completion.

The budgeted capital expenditure has been adjusted from $26.3 million in the adopted budget to $28.7 million because of projects being carried forward.

Of the 116 projects planned for the financial year, 19 are complete and 31 have started.

The Sale mall redevelopment is scheduled for completion this month, while construction of the Glenmaggie Bridge is expected to be completed by June next year.

Construction of the Yarram drainage project is scheduled to begin in January and be completed by Easter.

Councillor Darren McCubbin said the full implication for the $4.8 million superannuation liability had not been determined.

“I can assure the community that we have that in hand, but that’s certainly an issue on the horizon that all councillors are very concerned with,” he said.