News, Events and Culture

Surplus and lower debt achieved

Monday August 21 2017

An unaudited operating budget surplus of $2.3 million for the 2016-17 financial year allows Palmerston North City Council to reduce debt levels.

Council’s Finance Report for the final quarter was presented to the Finance and Performance Committee today. The Report shows Council ended the financial year with a controllable surplus of $2,296,000. This contributed to additional amounts being available for debt reduction on top of the $5,426,000 budgeted from rates-funded operations.

Interim Chief Executive David Wright says Council received higher revenues, some through the city’s increasing economic activity, and also achieved lower service delivery costs.

“Revenue increased, particularly in the regulatory services area and for wastewater collection fees.

“Capital programmes expenditure was below budget, but still ahead of the previous year. Projects underway or completed included those dedicated to improving infrastructure such as progress in upgrading the wastewater treatment plant, enhancing levels of service like the family changing rooms and women’s showers at the Lido, and improving future capability.

“We spent $33.1m out of a budget of $52.9m for the year. This compares to $30.9m spent in 2015-16. However, Council was not able to carry out or complete all of the projects we had budgeted for in the last financial year. Some were awaiting approvals or required more funding before they could start.”

Projects carried forward include:

  • Papaioea social housing project
  • Library of the Future
  • Central Energy Trust Wildbase Recovery
  • Junior Road Safety Park
  • Street lighting upgrade; James Line upgrade
  • Kelvin Grove water bore
  • sections of the Manawatū River Shared Pathway.

“The Council has reduced the cost to ratepayers of some projects by obtaining external funding as well as central government funding to help finance those capital projects as completed,” says Mr Wright.

“Net debt is well below the level budgeted,” says Mr Wright. “It is important to note that when these capital projects are carried out, debt levels will rise. These programmes are partly funded by debt and paid off over time, rather than being paid for by the current generation of ratepayers.”

Council has retained its AA long-term Standard and Poor’s credit rating and is deemed financially sustainable.

Mr Wright says Council continues to work on improving the delivery of online services. A recent example was the June launch of online building consents.

An audit is being completed, with the draft Annual Report intended to be submitted to the September Finance and Performance Committee.