Plummeting revenue streams connected to widespread COVID-19 shutdowns has contributed to Albury Council forecasting a rare operating loss next financial year.
For the first time since 2012-13 has council projected an overall deficit with loss forecast to be $2.7 million compared to a $5.6 million surplus on a pre-pandemic long-term outlook.
But a combination of an increase in depreciation expense and COVID-19 impacts on operations has led to the major turnaround.
Budget papers reveal some of the biggest hits to the city's bottom line in 2020-21.
They include $3.5 million loss in airport-related income and $570,000 loss in entertainment centre income with no immediate snap back anticipated in the coming financial year.
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Airport operations are still expected to cost $2.5 million and entertainment centre operations will have a $98,000 impact on city finances.
The council has also committed to a $500,000 COVID-19 relief fund for the 2021-22 financial year.
Depreciation costs amount to $4.5 million due to the revaluation of road and buildings.
"With a new financial year approaching, we've prepared a draft budget designed and built to power a major economic and social recovery in Albury, following the costly effects of the COVID-19 outbreak," council chief executive Frank Zaknich said.
"Our ongoing recovery will be driven by a budgetary package that will create jobs and investment, enhance our tourism sector, foster business growth and provide a range of facilities and services designed to improve the health and lifestyle of our community.
"Mindful that many in our city are still feeling the financial effects of COVID-19, we've proposed an average rate rise of 2.3 per cent for residential households and 1.8 per cent for businesses."
The council received around 100 applications and provided financial assistance of almost $40,000 to affected residential rate payers during 2020-21.
But with ongoing easing of restrictions and national rollout out of vaccines the hit on council finances is expected to reduce over the next two financial years.
The draft budget contains a $63 million capital works budget with about a third of the amount to be spent on water and wastewater projects.
A further $11.8 million will be spent on roads, bridges and footpaths.
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