MITCHELL Shire Council has attributed a $3.11 million negative budget turnaround on the COVID-19 pandemic increasing costs and reducing revenue.
There were also significant costs relating to waste diversion during Mitchell Landfill upgrade works.
In council’s finance report for the quarter ending September 30, council forecasted a deficit of $1.45 million compared to the adopted budget surplus of $1.66 million.
At last week’s council meeting, officers explained the deficit reflected the impact of end of financial year changes and adjustments that were not foreseen at the time of preparing the 2020-21 budget.
The main changes impacting the adjusted result were updated assumptions relating to the pandemic, increased costs of the diversion of waste during constriction of Seymour Landfill cell six, increased waste settlement costs relating to Seymour Landfill rehabilitation, and various carry forward costs.
Figures in the quarterly finance report reveal council’s materials and services expenditure is forecasted to increase by $4.01 million compared to the budget, including an increase of $1.298 million in diverting waste away from the Mitchell Landfill and an $810,000 legal settlement relating to the landfill.
Council’s forecasted $51.59 million capital works expenditure is also $11.55 million higher than the adopted budget due to carry forwards and successful grant applications.
South ward councillor Rob Eldridge said the deficit was an unfortunate outcome.
“That’s quite a big turnaround. We’ve done really well over the last few years in managing our budget, but it just shows how fragile the situation is when a couple things thrown into the mix we weren’t expecting,” he said.