Government grants for major projects bolstered the Gore District Council’s income for the last financial year.
The Council’s 2022-23 Annual Report will be tabled at a meeting next Tuesday.
It shows the Council’s annual income was $34.9 million, compared to budgeted income of $29.8 million.
General Manager Corporate Support Lornae Straith said three Government grants contributed significantly to the difference.
The grants were:
– 3 Waters Better off Funding – $1.2m
– Shovel Ready – $350,000
– 3 Waters transitional funding – $200,000
The Council finished the last financial year with a $2.433m deficit. This compares to a budgeted deficit of $763,000.
Miss Straith said the main driver for the deficit was an unexpected $1.3 million spike in depreciation due to the Council’s infrastructure assets being revalued last year.
“We had budgeted for a $22 million increase in value. However, the revaluation delivered a $66 million increase.”
While depreciation is traditionally a non-cash transaction, it needs to be shown as expenditure to ensure the Council sets funds aside for asset replacement.
Other drivers of the deficit included an additional $1 million in road maintenance expenditure, personnel costs ($817,000) and increased interest costs ($673,000).
Miss Straith said the last financial year had been extremely challenging in an economic sense.
“We are not immune to some of the same financial pressures people are experiencing at home – high inflation and rising interest rates.”
The Council also increased debt in line with the budgeted capital works programme and increased personnel expenses to be competitive in a tight employment market.
The last financial year saw the completion of some once-in-a-generation projects, including the new James Cumming Community Centre and Library.
The $7.7 million redevelopment of the James Cumming Wing received significant external funding, namely $3 million from the Government’s Shovel Ready fund and $958,000 from Mataura Valley Milk.
The project was completed within budget during a time of high construction cost inflation.
Capital works on the Council’s 3 Waters infrastructure were either finished or considerably advanced in 2022/23.
The highlights have been:
▪ Replacing one of Gore’s largest and most critical wastewater mains between the intersection of Wigan and Hyde streets and Eccles and Ardwick streets.
▪ Finishing the installation of a new stormwater system and wastewater main in Elizabeth, Joseph and St Andrews streets.
▪ Completing a robust renewals plan for the Gore and Mataura reticulated networks. This saw 31km of condition data, which covers approximately 28% of our networks, analysed and developed into a renewal strategy.
▪ Desludging Pond One at the Gore oxidation ponds. An estimated 2500 tonnes of sludge will be removed by the time this project ends.
▪ Installing a new membrane plant at the East Gore Water Treatment Plant. Once fully commissioned, the new plant will ensure Gore’s water supply will be fully compliant with the New Zealand Drinking Water Standards.
▪ Upgrading the Mataura Water Treatment Plant so it is also fully compliant with the New Zealand Drinking Water Standards.