The Devonport City Council today released its 2019/20 Annual Report, which highlighted two distinct halves of the financial year, pre and post COVID-19.
Devonport Mayor Annette Rockliff acknowledged the challenges of 2020 as unprecedented on a global scale.
Mayor Rockliff said she was proud of Council’s support for residents, local businesses and community groups in the face of the uncertain impacts of COVID-19, through rates, rent and fees relief, and new online art and fitness programs.
“I am also extremely proud of how we have responded as a city to the challenges of COVID-19, and the spirit of our community has remained strong as we work towards recovery,” Mayor Rockliff said.
“This year has forced us, as a council, to reflect on our vision and our priorities. As individuals, it also forced many of us to pause, to slow down and stay home.
“We all had to find a new normal. This year has brought many challenges, but one of the most effective ways to stimulate the local economy is through generating construction works.”
Mayor Rockliff said major milestones were achieved during the year with Council’s ambitious LIVING CITY strategy, with site works commencing on the $15 million Waterfront Park redevelopment and the privately funded $40 million Waterfront Hotel.
“It has been fantastic to see these developments starting to take shape and progressing even throughout this uncertain period,” she said.
“Before COVID-19, Devonport unveiled a rich range of community events in the latter half of 2019, including the Devonport Jazz Festival, Devonport Food and Wine, the Christmas Parade, New Year’s Eve celebrations and the Festival of Learning.”
Devonport City Council General Manager Matthew Atkins said with the reported February financial forecast indicating a small surplus of $52,000, Council was on track to meet its budgeted operating result.
However, with the onset of COVID-19, Mr Atkins said this position rapidly deteriorated over coming months, with the final nett operating result for the year ending 30 June 2020 being a deficit of $1.3 million.
“Fortunately, Council has capacity to sustain this loss without the need to borrow for cashflow purposes, due to its sound financial position and sufficient cash reserves,” Mr Atkins said.
“The net worth of Council as at 30 June 2020 was $565 million up from $556 million in 2019. This is predominantly made up of Council’s investment in property and community infrastructure worth $514 million and Council’s ownership in TasWater of $76 million. Debt reduced from $51.8 million to $50.01 million in line with anticipated principal and interest repayments detailed in the Long Term Financial Management Plan.
“Without question, COVID-19 has tested Council as it has organisations the world over, however, from this pressure has evolved much innovation and improvement. Council’s digital transformation continues to change the way we operate and how people do business with us.”
Mr Atkins said live streaming of Council meetings commenced in May providing greater opportunity for members of the public to engage with the decision making processes of Council. Copies of Council’s 2019/2020 Annual Report are now available at Council’s Customer Service Centre, Level 2, paranaple centre and on Council’s website at www.devonport.tas.gov.au/council/governance/strategies-reports-publications/annual-report/
Submissions on the Annual Report are invited and should be delivered to the General Manager by Tuesday 3 November 2020 to permit them to be listed for discussion at the Annual General Meeting on Monday 9 November. The AGM is being held in the convention centre, Level 3, paranaple centre, 137 Rooke Street, Devonport, at 5.30 pm.