Council in Good Shape04 December 2020
Despite the many challenges of 2020, Mosman Council is proving that sound financial management can deliver results. The Council recently considered its audited financial statements for 2019/20, which demonstrate the value of strict monetary discipline and targeted austerity measures rolled out to help weather the storm of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In May this year the Council was anticipating an end of year operating deficit before capital and non-cash adjustments of $722,000. Despite the early months of the pandemic hitting Council revenues hard, efforts to contain costs over the period have been successful in reducing the end of year operating deficit before capital grants and contributions and fair value increments to only $131,000. For a Council that has proudly delivered year-on-year operating surpluses, the ability to reduce the expected deficit so significantly has been a welcome relief.
‘No one could have foreseen at the start of 2020 the new world we were about to experience or the subsequent impact on our financial sustainability’, Mayor of Mosman Carolyn Corrigan said. ‘Our Councillors and staff really rose to the challenge, and I think we’ve done exceptionally well to rein in the potential impact of the pandemic on Council’s bottom line. We’ve also been able to achieve these results while providing financial and other in-kind support to various sectors of our community, helping businesses and residents to also weather the storm.’
The positive end of year result for 2019/20 has been accompanied by a better-than-hoped result in the first quarter of 2020/21, with projected deficits for the current year also being controlled. The 30 September review of Council’s adopted budget demonstrates that the measures put in place to ensure Council’s financial sustainability have been largely successful. The projected budget deficit for the year to 30 June 2021 now sits at $96,500 – down a huge $771,900 from the figure forecast in June this year.
The Council can understandably be pleased with this latest result but acknowledges that careful financial management remains crucial in an uncertain operating environment. According to Mayor Corrigan, ‘There’s ongoing work to do, of course, but I hope we’re showing our community that their contributory rate dollars are in safe and prudent hands. Our Annual Report for 2019/20 provides further insight into what’s been achieved over the last year and I encourage residents to read this for themselves.’