TRC makes surplus in annual report, but key target missed
THE Toowoomba Regional Council has failed to meet one of its key budget targets around infrastructure, despite delivering a fifth-consecutive surplus to ratepayers.
Mayor Paul Antonio handed down the final annual report for the 2016-2020 council term, with the $747 million business enjoying a nearly one per cent surplus, worth $3 million.
The net profit result from the report was $28 million.
But the new document also showed the council failed to reach its asset sustainability ratio target in 2018/19 of 90 per cent, instead hitting 62 per cent.
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Asset sustainabilityas a function measures the money being invested into renewing or replacing existing infrastructure against that asset's depreciation.
"If the target ratio is not reached over the medium to long term, council may face a reduction in the asset's service levels and/or useful lives which would create a burden on future ratepayers," the annual report said.
The council expects that ratio to jump to more than 83 per cent in 2019/20, before dropping away again in forecasts.
Finance and business strategy chair Cr Mike Williams said while the forward estimates could sometimes be misleading, asset renewal would be a major issue for future councils.
"There are some very large forward projects (that are factored in), and they tend to distort your averages," he said.
"We do review that every year, and we've significantly changed our parameters around asset renewal.
"That's a focus that we've taken and we'll be moving into capital budgeting with that.
"I want to raise the profile of this issue to show that you can't keep building shiny new things."
The 62 per cent figure was still an improvement from the previous year, following a concerted effort from councillors to make renewal a priority.
Speaking on behalf of the annual report, finance and business strategy portfolio leader Cr Megan O'Hara Sullivan said she was proud of the council's development.
"I'm very pleased with the results from the council throughout the year - there are a lot of things we can be proud of and a lot of things we need to work towards," she said.
"You can see the results for yourself - it's a really impressive report.
"Over the past financial year the council injected $475 million into the economy, including operational expenditure of $322 million and a capital program of $153 million."
The $3 million surplus this year is not quite as large as the previous period, which was $12 million.
Surpluses are included into the council's reserves, to be used on future new and renewal capital projects.