Lismore council records $6.9m loss

LISMORE City Council has reported an operating loss of $6.9 million for 2010/11 financial year.

The loss represented almost a $20 million turnaround on the previous financial year, in which council posted a $12.7 million surplus, boosted in part by the one-off inclusion of the $5.2 million Richmond Tweed Regional Library on the council's books.

Finance manager Rino Santin yesterday said while the council's short-term financial position was strong, in the longer term it would need to find extra funding.

"Council's short-term financial position is sound with net assets of $1.04 billion under its control, cash, cash equivalents and investments totalling $39.87 million, and $2.13 available to pay every dollar of current debt as and when it falls due," he said.

"From a long-term perspective, council will need to increase funding to service its asset renewal requirements to be sustainable."

Among the main contributors to the loss was the Goonellabah Sports and Aquatic Centre, which shaved $2.58 million off the bottom line.

The Koala Day Care Centre also lost $167,000 for the year before it was sold to a private operator.

This was partly offset by the $73,582 council made from its real estate developments.

Overall total expenses from continuing operations rose $13.9 million to $102.3 million, with revenue falling $5.7 million to $95.4 million.

Rates for the financial year generated $37.3 million, up 7.1%, but it remained a problem area for the council with 10.6% of ratepayers in arrears.

Mr Santin said council had forecast a $1.63 million loss for 2011/12.

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