Library book valuation puts council in red

TERRI RUSSELL
Last updated 05:00 15/11/2012

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Library books are largely to blame for throwing the Gore District Council into the red by more than $1.6 million, but the council's corporate manager says it was a once-off loss. The impairment of library books contributed to more than $960,000 of the debt reported in the council's annual results released this week for the year ending June 30.

Funding from loans and reserves and additional depreciation make up the remainder of the debt.

Gore District Council corporate services general manager Russell Duthie said while the figures looked "very average" the debt from the library books was "absolutely a once-off".

The library had about 63,000 books and they had not been valued for about 20 years despite the valuation being an international accounting requirement, he said.

"To be fair, we should have done it more regularly; we didn't see them as being a big issue."

The book debt had no impact on ratepayers because council had rated for them each year. The problem was that council did not comply with the reporting requirements, he said.

A lot of work was involved with valuing library books which took three to four days work.

The council was looking at new management systems to help with the valuations and hoped to do them every three years, Mr Duthie said.

Despite the book loss, the council recorded a cash surplus of $3000.

"It is a testament to our council and staff."

Last year the council held its deficit to $97,000 compared with the $151,000 budgeted.

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- The Southland Times

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