Delays put council's coffers ahead

The Palmerston North City Council's finances were in good shape one-third of the way through the financial year, but that was partly because of projects running behind schedule.

At the end of October, the council was $2.5 million better off than it had budgeted for operational spending.

Financial accountant Keith Allan told yesterday's finance and performance committee little more than 10 per cent of the capital budget for the year had been spent.

The overall capital programme for the year is $38m. The budget for spending to the end of October was $6.8m, but so far only $3.9m had been spent.

That meant less interest charges were incurred than planned.

Some of the behind-schedule projects include the extensions to the Globe Theatre, development of a regional bus terminal in Main St, the Esplanade conservatory and the Ashhurst wastewater pipeline.

Chief financial officer Grant Elliott said it was fortunate that no significant extra spending had been required, such as for cleaning up storm damage.

Chief executive Paddy Clifford said the result was a good start, but there would be challenges ahead.

"Continued pressures on services and uncertain service delivery costs mean staff remain focused on making savings wherever possible," he said.

Manawatu Standard