At Council’s last meeting, the external auditors – the Audit Office of NSW – presented their ‘Conduct of the Audit Report’ to Council. It was again pleasing to note the continued strong financial performance of Council over the last three years.
Council recorded a Net Operating Result for the 2018-19 year of $40.464 million.
A more accurate measure of Council’s underlying financial health is the Net Operating Result Before Grants and Contributions Provided for Capital Purposes. This was $5.98 million.
This result is also reflected in the most important of Council’s audited performance ratios, the Operating Performance Ratio which was a positive 5.37%. You can see Council’s operating results over the last six years in the graph above.
In addition, Council’s operating result is ahead of the forecast in our ‘Fit for the Future’ improvement plan.
Council also achieved all the NSW Office of Local Government benchmarks for their six audited financial performance measures.
Strong Cash and Debt Position
Council’s cash and debt position is also strong. Total cash and investments grew by $10.5 million to $223.3 million in 2018-19. Total borrowings reduced by $14.2 million to $140.0 million, $122.7 million of which relates to the Water and Sewerage Funds and is being paid off through water and sewerage user charges.
In summary, Council’s net debt position has improved $24.7 million in this one financial year.
This great outcome has not been achieved by chance. Five years ago Council undertook major reforms to provide Council with financial sustainability into the future. In doing so, this has also provided Council financial capacity to be able to undertake projects and initiatives, which would otherwise not be possible.
The financial health of Council fundamentally underpins our ability to provide the services and facilities for the Coffs Harbour community in a growing regional city.
The audited financial statements will be published shortly as part of Council’s Annual Report. The Office of Local Government has also recently launched a new website yourcouncil.nsw.gov.au, which provides performance information on all councils across the state. I encourage you to take a look at our results.