Financial forecast

This page summarises Eurobodalla Shire Council's current financial challenges and service delivery plans now and into the future.

  • Last updated: August 2023

Many councils around NSW are in financial trouble, with 17 applying for a special rate variation in 2023.

Eurobodalla Council is not applying for a special variation in 2023, but - like many councils across the state - we are facing a serious, ongoing operating deficit in our general fund. The general fund delivers the majority of Council's services to the community, apart from water, sewer and waste. Council’s general fund is spending more on day-to-day operations than the revenue it collects.

  • Since the start of 2023, staff and councillors have managed to reduce general fund's operating deficit from $13.6M to $11M. This was achieved by reprioritising and staging our work plan and by using grant funds to support already programmed works and services.
  • Eurobodalla Council has $1.7 billion in assets, annual turnover of $140 million, over 600 employees delivering dozens of services to its community.
  • The operational plan for 2023-24 estimates an operating deficit of $8.8M in Council’s general fund (including waste and environment).

What has happened so far

Council's General Manager Warwick Winn sought a financial health check in his first weeks on the job in late 2022. This identified large future deficits, current debt, and a work program that is too large to manage.

We are a medium-sized council trying to do the work of a large council, and that is not sustainable. Instead, councillors and senior staff understand that responsible and decisive actions are needed now to try and avoid special rate rises in the future.

  • Councillors and senior staff recently reviewed the financial situation to identify a path forward for the shire. Strategic workshops like this will continue.
  • So far, we have managed to reduce 2023-24 financial year’s general fund operating deficit from $13.6M to $11M.
  • We will prepare a finance strategy this year that will see us achieve long term financial sustainability by living within our means.
  • The 2023-24 work program will be reprioritised, including a focus on finishing grant-funded projects. In the years after, we will propose reducing our capital works program to focus on maintaining and renewing existing assets like roads, public toilets, and recreation facilities.
  • Council's draft 2023-24 Operational Plan, draft 2023-24 Fees and Charges, and draft 2023-33 Long-Term Financial Plan were on public exhibition for community feedback during May and June 2023.
  • The draft 2023-24 Operational Plan and Fees and Charges were adopted at the Council meeting Tuesday 27 June 2023.
  • Delivery Program 2022-26 and Operational Plan 2023-24 (4.0 MB)
  • The operational plan estimates an operating deficit of $8.8M in Council’s general fund (including waste and environment) for 2023-24
  • During the exhibition period, we hosted three presentations for community members to hear from General Manager Warwick Winn and Director of Finance Stephanie Speedy about Council's current and future financial challenges.

Our approach to grant funding

We are grateful for the NSW Government grants that have allowed us to build new infrastructure for the community - especially after fires and floods - but the time has come to look carefully at our approach to seeking grants.

  • Going forward, we will be more strategic about the grants we pursue.
  • Grants should pay for work already in our plans, not add more work on top.
  • This is how we will use funds to cover projected expenses, and hopefully avoid service reductions or having to pursue special rate variations in the future.

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