Gympie council CEO Bernard Smith says there needs to be a “sharp focus” on cost containment following an $11 million operational deficit in 2018-19.
Gympie council CEO Bernard Smith says there needs to be a “sharp focus” on cost containment following an $11 million operational deficit in 2018-19.

Gympie council reveals shock $11 million loss

A PROJECTED $1.3 million budget surplus turned into an $11 million nightmare for Gympie Regional Council last year, their latest annual report reveals.

Over the 2018-19 period, the council spent incurred $101 million in operating expenses, $11 more than the $89 million it brought in through rates and charges.

It is the largest operating loss since amalgamation.

The council's total comprehensive income for the year was a $17 million loss when combined with a $21 million drop in asset revaluation.

The biggest chunk of the operating cost pie was taken up by employee costs.

Operationally more than $40 million was spent on staff, up from $36 million the year before and $33 million in 2016-17.

Gympie Council 2018 Hilary Smerdon, Dan Stewart, Glen Hartwig, Bob Leitch, Mick Curran, Bob Fredman, Mal Gear, Daryl Dodt and Mark McDonald.
Gympie Council 2018 Hilary Smerdon, Dan Stewart, Glen Hartwig, Bob Leitch, Mick Curran, Bob Fredman, Mal Gear, Daryl Dodt and Mark McDonald.

Materials and services also increased from $36 million in 2017-18 to $39 million in 2018-19, and depreciations costs were up from $15 million last year to $19 million.

The council also finished with a $6 million drop in cash reserves, down from $42 million in 2017-18 to $36 million last year.

The council's financial result is not the only cause for concern in the report, either.

Its asset sustainability ratio, which indicates the capital spend on replacing and renewing assets, is projected below the proscribed 90 per cent target for the coming years.

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Chief executive Bernard Smith said acknowledged the "financial challenges" facing the council.

Mr Smith said it was "fortunate" the council had "very low borrowings, however we will need to have a sharp focus on cost containment in the future … to ensure ongoing financial sustainability".

Mary Valley Rattler
Mary Valley Rattler

The report also provides another glimpse into the counci's efforts to return the Rattler to life.

In 2018 the council provided $1.3 million in grants and subsidies, along with another $1.63 million in goods and services "on normal terms and conditions.

This year the council provided $820,000 in grants and subsidies (a $420,000 operating grant and a $400,000 loan) and $883,000 in goods and services.

As of June 30, the report says the Rattler Railway Company owes the council $1.1 million in borrowings and more than $64,000 for the sale of a locomotive.

Gympie Times


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