Tasmanian councils combined had an underlying deficit of $19.2 million in 2019-20 - a deterioration of 282 per cent on the previous year's results.
The Auditor-General in his annual examination of council finances listed 16 or the state's 29 councils as having reported an underlying net deficit for the previous financial year.
Most of these were Tasmania's larger councils.
IN OTHER NEWS:
Councils recorded an underlying surplus of $10.6 million in 2018-19, a surplus of $22 million in 2017-18, and a surplus of $15.8 million in 2016-17.
Eleven councils recorded underlying deficits totalling $9.37 million in 2018-19.
In his report, Auditor-General Rod Whitehead said the 2019-20 result was primarily driven by increased operating expenses of $37.3 million as a result of higher employee costs and higher depreciation on assets.
The largest net deficits for 2019-20 were recorded by Launceston at $7.2 million and Hobart at $7.1 million
Launceston had an underlying surplus of $2.06 million in 2018-19 and Hobart had a 1.25 million underlying surplus that same year.
The reason for the downturn in Launceston was loss of revenue due to COVID-19, decreased investment revenue from TasWater, higher depreciation of assets, and money needed for the rehabilitation of the city's waste centre.
Devonport City Council recorded an underlying next deficit of 1.7 million and Burnie City Council recorded a deficit of $787,000.
Burnie has recorded an underlying deficit in three of the past four years.
Flinders Council recorded a surplus in 2019-20 after three years of underlying deficits.
King Island Council recorded its fourth year of underlying deficits.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.