Council's surplus jumps to $979m
By LINDA CHOY and SO LAI-FUN
THE Urban Council's surplus jumped sixfold to $979 million in the fiscal year 1992-93, according to latest figures.
The sum, up from $158 million the previous year, brought the council's total revenue balance to $1.4 billion - three times the $455 million accumulated in 1991-92.
Despite the record increase, chairman of the council's finance select committee, Brook Bernacchi, said it was too early to judge financial status purely by the current statement sheet.
''[The surplus] is so great because there are a lot of outstanding debts or other commitments,'' he said.
The financial statement of the council showed it had under-spent on capital expenditure and special expenditure.
The Urban Council had originally earmarked $140 million as ''special expenditure'' to cover spending on vehicles, museum acquisitions, consultancy fees and the Clean Hong Kong campaign.
By the end of the financial year in March, only $93 million had been spent.
Another $124 million for capital works was also unused, compared with the $521 million estimate.
Mr Bernacchi rejected the suggestion that the council, like the Government, was under-spending.
He hoped the surplus would not affect the government allocation of funds over the next few years.
The real financial situation of the council would only be visible after one or two years, he said.
When asked if the surplus reflected a mismanagement of funds, Mr Bernacchi said: ''No, I don't think that is a problem at all. For instance, we have no control of how much and how long it takes for people like the contractors and so on to submit their bills.''