Early grants boost shire’s funds

THE earlier than expected receipt of federal government grants has boosted Wellington Shire Council’s bottom line.

Council’s draft 2014-15 annual financial report, approved in principle recently, shows an operating surplus of $12 million. Council had forecast a $1.1 million deficit.

Council received $87 million in total income, $9.9 million more than predicted. At $48.9 million, income from rates and charges was slightly lower than budgeted.

More than $7 million in grants were received. Of that, $6 million was half of council’s Federal Assistance Grant allocation for 2015-16 received before June 30.

Council also received an unbudgeted donation of $500,000 for the Port of Sale Cultural Hub, and unexpected income from the sale of unrequired assets at the Sale Livestock Exchange and Thomson River Caravan Park.

Council recorded $75 million in expenses, $3.2 million less than budgeted. The deferring of works to his financial year explains much of the difference.

Among the projects deferred to this financial year was the $1.3 million redevelopment of clubrooms at the Gordon Street Recreation Reserve and replacement of the McLoughlins Beach footbridge.

The $2.6 million upgrade of the intersection of Princes Highway and Cobains Road will now be undertaken by the developer of adjacent land in 2015-16 with council providing a monetary contribution.