Douglas not expensive
THE cost of re-establishing a Douglas Shire Council should be minimal.
I refer to David Carey’s analysis on behalf of the Friends Of Douglas Shire presented at a public meeting in Mossman on December 12 last year estimating the cost to be $3 million.
The buildings, depot and infrastructure are all still there. The total asset value was $281 million and it remains virtually intact.
There is no need to buy much new plant and equipment - there were always plenty of contractors with trucks, backhoes, excavators, loaders and the like in the shire.
Most of the staff are still there, it’s just the senior administration that have either left or been moved to Cairns.
The additional staff would be something like a CEO, four general managers - corporate services, engineering, planning and health - and a handful of others.
All the land owned by the former Douglas Shire is still there - I estimate there would be around $20 million worth, mostly in prime spots, surplus to needs and very sellable.
Douglas had $24 million in cash and cash equivalents in the bank at the time of amalgamation - if Douglas got a quarter of that back in cash it would be more than enough to cover re-establishment costs.
Having paid for the start-up costs - can the Douglas be run more cost effectively?
The previous council was financially one of the strongest in Queensland on around 30 per cent less rates that Cairns Regional Council currently pulls out of the shire.
The FODS report estimates include a fiveyear program which clearly shows Douglas can adequately maintain its infrastructure with enough surplus to fund new capital works into the future.
Douglas would still be eligible for state and federal funding for major projects.
I encourage everyone visit the Friends Of Douglas Shire website www. friendsofdouglasshire.org and examine our financial model. FODS have sent these estimates to both the Minister for Local Government and the Queensland Treasury Corporation for appraisal.
How amazing was everyone’s effort to look like the 1970s era.
We got our bit right, now it’s time to get yours right.