Million-dollar council: Lismore records $1.1m operating profit

AN INDEPENDENT audit of Lismore City Council's finances has confirmed an operating surplus of $1.1 million, up from a $3.6 million loss in 2012.

The audit was conducted by Thomas Noble & Russell and presented to council last night and will now go on public display from October 31 to November 7.

Council general manager Gary Murphy said he was pleased to see revenue up 8.32% from the previous year, partly as a result of increased rates and charges, but also because of better than expected sales from quarries as a result of the Tintenbar to Ewingsdale highway upgrade and also improved trading from waste services.

The council's net assets increased by $93.38 million and Mr Murphy said they had also increased their building and infrastructure renewal ratio from 61% to 71%, which would help to reduce debt over the long term.

"The TCorp report prepared for the independent local government review panel (last year)... considered our outlook to be weak. But we knew their report didn't contain the latest information or our long-term financial plan. If we carry on the trajectory we are going now, that outlook should change from negative to neutral or positive," he said.

Mr Murphy said the area Thomas Noble & Russell recommended improving was its debt collection practices, as the level of outstanding rates and charges "exceeded acceptable parameters".

Finance manager Rino Santin said they were at the start of a lengthy process to turn a deficit into a surplus over the next 10 years.

"We have some challenges ahead and we have to make savings every year to achieve our goal. That is the commitment we made to the community as part of the Imagine Lismore process: to use our resources wisely, fund our infrastructure adequately and minimise the use of debt as we move forward."



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