$1m returned to area

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Solid result . . . Mataura Licensing Trust general manager Mark Paterson is pleased with another solid year from the trust, as he looks over the financial report for 2019-20 year. PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE

Eastern Southland has benefited to the tune of more than $1 million after a solid year by the Mataura Licensing Trust.

The MLT’s just-released final review for the 2019-20 financial year showed $451,000 was returned from profits, down $45,000 from last year.

However, $637,000 was distributed through the MLT’s gaming arm, The Trust Community Foundation, up $105,000 from last year.

A total of $1.088 million was directed back into the community.

MLT general manager Mark Paterson was pleased the trust was able to maintain its level of funding- “absolutely ecstatic really”.

The trust had been able to maintain its level of funding “for many years”, Mr Paterson said.

MLT board president Horace McAuley said while he was happy with the results, he was wary about the future because of Covid-19.

“We are happy,” Mr McAuley said.

“It’s a contribution that we’ve been doing for a while.

“Now it’s moving forward, we are all a bit suspicious as to what’s about the corner ..

“We are pretty keen to get back into some funding opportunities, even though they will be in most cases a little less than some long-term recipients have come to expect.

“At least it will still be there and a show of our respect.”

Mr Paterson said the trust’s largest amount of funding came through the foundation Southland Hockey Association for its new pavilion.

“It’s been very good they’re very pleased with it.

“It’s helping people stay around afterwards, so it’s helping their incomes.

“It’s helping people watch the games … It’s definitely been a very good venture.”

The MLT recorded a pre-tax profit of $214,000, he said.

Gaming was up 5%, making $756,000 available for distribution back to the area this year.

Bottle stores led the charge, up 5.9% at $16.5 million, followed by food, which was up 4.5% at $4.04 million.

Accommodation was up $35,000 at $1.4 million, which was better than expected given there was a staggered renovation of the Heartland Hotel Croydon Lodge’s 16 rooms over six months last year.

The trust was “pleased that we’ve finished the Croydon Lodge and finished off its renovations”.

Overall, bar sales were down 1.31% at $3.75 million but were better than expected in the present climate, he said.

Sundry income increased 25% to $1.4 million, and was mainly attributed to employer-led workplace literacy and numeracy funding that 68 employees benefited from last year.

Running costs increased 11% on last year.

A $700,000 increase in repairs and maintenance expenditure was attributed to the Croydon refurbishment, bringing the $4 million upgrade conducted over the past four years to a close.