Storms that have battered the UK and Powys, causing floods earlier this month, will also affect the Powys County Council’s 2019/20 budget.

The last out turn report discussed by the Powys County Council Cabinet on February 11 revealed that this financial year’s budget was heading towards a predicted underspend of £620,000 on March 31.

But since then, the situation has changed with the cost of cleaning the storm now having to be added.

This was explained at a meeting of the Finance Panel on Friday, February 21, where Head of Finance Jane Thomas gave a budget update as of January 31.

Ms Thomas said: “At that point in time there was a £6,000 underspend at year end, things had moved on as expected since the end of December.

“The forecast was that it will improve further towards the end of the year.

“That being said, it was before we had the storms and the recovery that’s been in place over the last week.

“We are now expecting costs to rise around that so that will affect our forecast towards the year end.

“It’s too early to say exactly what that will be.

“There is a support fund from the Welsh Government that we can attract funding from.

“But there is a threshold in terms of what we will have to meet ourselves before we can draw on any of that funding.”

Before the storms, Ms Thomas said that the forecast had been looking favourable and a potential underspend of £650,000 which would have been “better” than a balanced budget.

This financial year Powys County Council needed to make savings  £21.692,000 and by January 31 the amount saved had reached £14,950,000 an increase of £370,000 had been delivered, from the £14,580,000 at the end of December 2019.

Ms Thomas added that she expected another £1,300,000 to be delivered by the year end.

The remaining £5,440,000 is still deemed unachievable in the financial year.

Cllr David Thomas (Labour – Tawe Uchaf) said: “Putting aside the impacts of Storm Dennis to the side, the report is forecasting a potential underspend of £650,000 at the year end.

“I think we need to be careful that we don’t see that as something to celebrate.

“This report reflects missed opportunities and poor financial management.

Cllr Thomas pointed out that £6,000,000 earmarked for council building projects had not been used.

The money will need to be pushed through to the next financial year so that the building work can take place.

Cllr Thomas added: “Those projects that have slipped could have benefited the residents of Powys and we failed to deliver them.”

While that has helped balance the budget Cllr Thomas thought that some Highways projects could have “negated” the storm effect.

“We have to catch up with the capital spend in future years, pressure will be put on the  budget as we’ll have to increase borrowing, so while we benefit this year, we will be penalised in the future”, said Cllr Thomas.

The collapse of building firms Dawnus and Jistcourt in 2019 had affected school building projects, two in Welshpool and one in Machynlleth and building a block of flats in Newtown.

The report will go to cabinet to be noted and approved on Tuesday, March 3.