Council debt reduced by $107M

Central Coast Council Photo: Justin StanleyCentral Coast Council Photo: Justin Stanley

Central Coast Council’s total actual debt is now down to $458M, it has been revealed.

Administrator, Dick Persson, had forecasted a $565M debt in his 30 day report last December but Chief Financial Officer Natalia Cowley said the debt was now $458M.

The question was raised by a resident during the open forum at Council’s meeting on February 23.

Persson asked Cowley to answer the question and she also tabled two reports updating him on the Business Recovery Plan and the Council’s second quarter financial statements.

Her report explained that the Financial Tactical Team which had been convened to deal with the financial crisis that became public last October would be discontinued and its work of finding financial savings would continue on a business-as-usual (BAU) basis.

This meant the tabled report would be the final one to be provided to Council on progress against the Business Recovery Plan.

The jobs still to do on the BAU list included reviewing developer contribution plans and model expenditure prediction with a view to minimise expenditure from general revenue as well as addressing all recommendations made in the Developer Contribution Audit and ensuring a clear strategy.

Work would also continue on reviewing historical spending to identify funds that may have been expended from incorrect sources such as developer contribution-eligible projects that had been funded from general revenue.

Council would also create a property (land) register including details on the use and return on property and assess the holding costs of all non-income producing assets and the current and future needs or strategy including community expectations for maintaining the property.

Work was continuing on the forensic report.

Persson said community budget savings were continuing to be made, with essential infrastructure and services continuing to be delivered.

“Good news is all our hard work to find savings and rein in spending is working with the deficit reduced by $7.7M (for the second quarter),” he said.

“We are also recovering faster than expected from COVID with an extra $3.3M in income from fees and charges from our holiday parks, leisure centres, pools and child care centres.

“This is in addition to a reduction of $4.4M in operational expenditure, with reduction of materials, contracts and other expenses as a result of stringent expenditure control.

“The capital works program has been reduced by $53.3M to $170M a year with priority given to essential services and delivering projects over several years.

“However, despite all this great work, Council’s projected financial position at June 30, 2021 will still be unsatisfactory with a current forecasted loss of $107.4M.

“So the hard work will continue to find the savings and deliver a balanced budget for next financial year.

“Hopefully we do get a Special Variation from IPART so that we can pay back restricted funds and deliver the services our community needs and values.”

Overall performance against the Operational Plan actions and targets shows that out of the 108 actions/targets, three have been completed, 67 are on track, five have not commenced, and 33 are either selayed, on hold or have been closed.

A number of these have been impacted by the financial situation.

Further information on Council’s Financial Situation, including details of Council’s Business Recovery Plan and Special Variation application to IPART can be found at by searching news at

Central Coast Council
meeting, Feb 23
Media release, Feb 23
Central Coast Council