Council is seeking a $100M loan

Central Coast Council is on the hunt for another loan, this time for up to $100M.

This comes on top of a loan for $50M secured in November.

“Negotiations with financial institutions are continuing regarding additional funding to supplement working capital,” says Council’s report on the latest financial update.

The Business Recovery Report to Council’s December 14 meeting also covers possible increases in fees and charges which Council staff describe as “areas of opportunity”.

Staff are currently finalising details on proposed increases and have not released any further information at this stage.

Highlights of the report include a further reduction of the 2020-2021 capital expenditure program to $170M and a structural reduction target in employee costs and materials and contracts of about $50M.

The earlier announced rate increase has increased to 15 percent (see separate story) and a first tranche of under performing property assets is moving ahead with the procurement of valuers and agents.

Chief Financial Officer, Natalia Cowley, said staff were finalising further tranches of proposed property asset sales and negotiations were underway for a loan to secure $50M to $100m in capital works.

Meanwhile, the forensic audit into Council’s financial situation continues.

A report to Council’s meeting said that sharing of information and the initial assessment had been completed and this will inform the scope of the final phases of the audit.

The Audit Report is currently still on track for completion by late January 2021.

The November investment report was also tabled at the meeting and shows that Council has almost $388M in investment funds, providing millions of dollars each year in interest payments.

However, the investment funds are restricted funds and cannot be used to pay for operational matters such as staff wages or other regular unrestricted costs.

Net return for November was $330,000 which was made up entirely of interest.

In November, Council had a net inflow of $62.54M in restricted funds with a decrease of cash of $5.5M and an increase of $68M in investments.

Merilyn Vale

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