Scenic Rim Regional Council releases 2020-2021 annual report

REPORT CARD: This year's report is now available online.
REPORT CARD: This year's report is now available online.

Scenic Rim Regional Council has published the 2020-2021 Annual Report.

The report outlines council's financial status, which featured a total income of $100.7 million for the year, up $2.2 million on 2019-2020.

Rates and utilities charges brought in $55.2 million, an increase of $1.2 million on last year, while fees and charges, mostly from an increase in building, plumbing and development assessment was up by $1.8 million on last year.

In the $90.06 million expenses column, $33.1 million was spent on employee benefits, an increase of $2.2 million compared to 2019-2020.

This included remuneration for Mayor Greg Christensen of $151,278 including superannuation. Cr Duncan McInnes, who served as deputy mayor, earned $93, 287 while Cr Michael Enright earned $81,627. Crs Swanborough, McConnell and West earned $80,366 and Cr Marshall Chalk $78,572.

Council paid $2.9 million on early repayment fees after refinancing loans to take advantage of lower interest rates.

A further $26.7 million was spent on roads, footpaths and council facilities including parks and gardens.

Scenic Rim Mayor Greg Christensen said the Annual Report captured the "multiple times council made decisions to prioritise the region's economic recovery without shying away from reporting on areas that are behind ambitious targets".

Projects that failed to come in on target included new jobs, tourism, waste management and sporting needs strategies. The industrial estate project was also delayed as was council's community culture strategy and a software upgrade.

Cr Christensen said $17.92 million was spent with Scenic Rim businesses in the past financial year, with 32 per cent of council's contestable materials and services sourced locally).

"Highlights last financial year included the opening of the $3.2 million revitalised Boonah Town Centre in December, followed by preparation for the Beaudesert Town Centre Revitalisation with the 'The Beauy Hub' bringing community and businesses together to talk with engineers, architects and council officers over a number of months," he said.

"Importantly, council sought direct input from the community several times across a range of strategies last financial year including the Growth Management Strategy, Smart Region Strategy, Adventure and Nature-based Tourism Strategy, and the Sporting, Camping and Community Facilities strategies."

Chief executive officer Jon Gibbons said the Annual Report showed the breadth of council's responsibilities from handling a COVID-19 related spike in building and plumbing approvals to the delivery of a comprehensive arts program in and around lockdowns.

"There were periods last year when we had up to half of our employees working from home, so the achievements of 2020-2021 are a credit to their perseverance and council's commitment to keep essential services running," he said.

"When it comes to the bottom line, council is in a strong financial position, consistent with its five-year average with the ability to service existing debts and financial obligations.

"The reported operating deficit of $2.8 million doesn't take into account council's borrowings, which were recently refinanced at lower interest rates for significant savings, and with $15 million of those borrowings currently being considered to fund a range of projects that will have lasting beneficial impacts to the communities and the region as a whole.

"Financial highlights include a 41 per cent increase in user pay revenues associated with building, plumbing, planning and subdivision fees, property search fees and caravan park fees showing the continued interest in investing and holidaying in the Scenic Rim.

"Officers have also worked hard to ensure the Scenic Rim is well represented across Queensland and Australian government funding programs, with an increase by 32 per cent of recurrent grants to the value of $1.91 million and a strong level of capital grants and contributions of $15.56 million, reducing the financial burden on general revenue and ratepayers."

Council's 2020-2021 Annual Report is available on the website, scenicrim.qld.gov.au/corporate-publications.

Members of the community can request printed copies through libraries and customer service centres.

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