Council $2.5-million worse off

COLAC Otway Shire Council is $2.5 million worse off than it hoped to be this year.

The council had predicted an operating surplus of $3.825 million at the end of the 2011-12 financial year but failed to receive a grant for Colac’s Bluewater Fitness Centre redevelopment.

Council staff have revised the operating surplus forecast in the council’s second-quarter financial performance report to $1.133 million.

The report said the council had a cash bank balance of $7.986 million, which was higher than at the same time last year.

Council finance and customer service manager Brett Exelby said the council’s finances were “not too far from being on track” despite a lack of funding for Bluewater.

The council has adjusted its Bluewater funding expectations from $2 million to $200,000.

“That’s probably the most significant major works being delayed,” Mr Exelby said.

The council has also added a $25,000 Eastern Reserve court resurfacing project, which it will fund using left-over money from its capital works program because of the cancellation of a timber roads program.

The timber roads program would have resheeted Old Beech Forest Road but the council failed to receive funding.

Mr Exelby said the council had started a new investment policy which would provide more financial security.

He said the council had put money into a term deposit to earn interest.

“Every dollar of interest that we earn from our investments, above what we have earned in the past, is a dollar we don’t have to source from the ratepayer,” he said.

“If there’s a big bill coming up, then we make sure that cash is available – it means that money’s not sitting idle.”

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