No, we won't borrow: councillors direct staff to investigate line of credit, not loan

VISION FOR FUTURE: Impressions of Goldridge Estate. Image: FORBES SHIRE COUNCIL
VISION FOR FUTURE: Impressions of Goldridge Estate. Image: FORBES SHIRE COUNCIL

Councillors have refused a staff recommendation to seek loan funding to cover a "cashflow disconnect" from accelerating development of Goldridge Estate.

Forbes Shire Council brought forward development of Stage 2 and 3 of the residential estate, before receiving sales revenue from Stage 1, a report to the March council meeting said.

This is in response to the current demand for land - the first release sold out in 48 hours - but council's staff flagged that it does pose a potential cashflow issue and they brought the matter to the March council meeting.

"Whilst Stage 1 of the Goldridge Estate subdivision has been fully sold, as has all but two of the first phase of the revised stage 2 of the development, the funds from these land sales will not be available or accessible by Council until the infrastructure is completed, the subdivision for the development has been approved, and contracts exchanged," the Chief Financial Officer's report to the council meeting said.

"This severely curtails Council's financing of stages 2 and 3 as the cash inflow from the development (sales proceeds) is not available but the cash outflow (infrastructure development) is ongoing."

The council is expecting sales revenue from other properties to come in, along with delayed payments for flood damage, but the Chief Financial Officer said the council "must be conservative in its cash management".

Council currently has a cash balance of $32.8m which includes $7.25m of "cash available", is overseeing a $40 million capital works program and could outlay up to $9 million for Goldridge Estate before any revenue comes in.

Council's staff placed a recommendation before councillors to enter into a fully drawn variable rate five-year interest only loan, with the option of early repayment.

But Mayor Phyllis Miller OAM said it was too early to do that.

"We have got money coming in," she said. "I am very mindful of not having our debt ratio too high."

Councillors voted instead to investigate a line of credit for the amount of dollar on a needs basis from the major banks and report back to the next council meeting.