Unexpected grants give council higher than forecast budget surplus

A unexpected cash windfall has helped Ballarat City Council record $2.875 million more than the forecast revenue for the first quarter of 2017-18.

The cash was mostly generated through a reduction of staff costs ($1.910 million) and unbudgeted government grants ($965,000).

Council’s total revenue for the first quarter of 2017-18 was $83.426 million.

Business services director Glenn Kallio said unexpected government grants had put council in a good position.

“We are going to end up with a greater operating profit because of those grants,” he said.

“Our capital grants received funding we didn’t expect to receive in the first quarter.

“What we take notice of are our forecast figures to make sure we are still on track for the year.”

A council report to be presented at a general meeting on Wednesday night said the more than $80 million in operating surplus was normal for the first quarter of the financial year.

It was largely generated through rates, although the full surplus will be significantly less by the end of the financial year, as council completes its planned road and construction projects.

Mr Kellio said the first two months of the quarter was usually spent preparing for the planned works around the region.

“The July to September quarter is usually quiet for project work,” he said.

“The works really start to ramp up from October.”

Council also brought forward $14.305 million in capital works spending that had been planned for later in the 2017-18 year.

Ballarat City mayor Samantha McIntosh said it would be a significant year of works for the municipality.

We have had some very strong plans over the last year, we have been budgeting for those and we will have a significant year of delivery,” she said.

“Really for the next three years a lot of the major plans we have put in place will now go ahead.”

Council’s quarterly report will be presented to Wednesday night’s meeting.