Hill de­serves credit

Townsville Bulletin - - OPINION -

LIKE Mark Mo­lachino ( TB let­ters 26/ 6/ 15) I too was as­ton­ished at the pre­pared out­burst by Cr Par­sons at the Bud­get coun­cil meet­ing on 24 June.

It struck me as a ver­i­ta­ble di­a­tribe against the present mayor and a self- con­grat­u­la­tory paean for Townsville First.

In it he men­tioned $ 105m deficit, but the CEO had to in­form him this was over a 10year pe­riod. The deficit at the 2012 new coun­cil was $ 56m.

It ap­pears to me that many mem­bers of coun­cil do not know the dif­fer­ence be­tween deficit and debt. The deficit was dwelt on at length by Cr Par­sons and the glo­ri­ous ef­forts that they ( Team Tyrell, now Townsville First es­sen­tially) had done to re­duce it. I do not re­call any ap­pre­ci­a­tion be­ing given to the mayor for deficit re­duc­tion since 2012.

What coun­cil mem­bers may not re­alise is that debt is a more per­ni­cious prob­lem than deficits – both State and Com­mon­wealth gov­ern­ments des­per­ately try to re­duce debt – which is a long- term ef­fect as against a deficit, an an­nual ef­fect ( there you have it now coun­cil­lors – do you get it now?).

It is the debt, with loans taken over 20 years, that has the long- term re­pay­ment ef­fect on ratepay­ers – for 20 years! The more bor­row­ings a coun­cil makes ( for in­fra­struc­ture pushed by de­vel­op­ers, high end of town) the more the loan re­pay­ments and the more the rate rises – de­vel­op­ers would not be in­ter­ested in this as­pect.

Most peo­ple, I feel, would be­lieve in mod­est growth and bal­anced bud­gets.

From QTC ( 30 June) the TCC debt for years 2007- 2014 were $ 64.37m, $ 207.14m, $ 205.042m, $ 387.396, $ 403.703m, $ 419.152m, $ 393.473m, $ 388.311m. This con­sol­i­dated data can be seen on the IR ( in­spec­tor­rex. net) web­site – de­rived from QTC. There was a jump from $ 64.37m in 2007 to $ 207.14 in 2008 due to more bor­row­ing.

But on 15 March 2008 there was a ( 1) TCC elec­tion, ( 2) Amal­ga­ma­tion of TCC and Thuringowa CC and ( 3) abo­li­tion of NQ Wa­ter which car­ried a debt of $ 112.103m. This debt would have been ab­sorbed by the newly en­larged TCC, hence a jump in debt in 2008. A graph of these his­tor­i­cal debts can also be seen on the IR web­site.

On 8 March 2008, then Can­di­date Les Tyrell for mayor, was re­ported in the Bul­letin: “May­oral can­di­date Les Tyrell says he has the strat­egy to tackle Townsville’s $ 101.4 mil­lion debt prob­lem”. Thus from his state­ment the debt, over his ad­min­is­tra­tion quadru­pled from $ 101.4m to $ 419.152m. Although the debt of NQ Wa­ter was ab­sorbed, the debt un­der Mayor Tyrell dou­bled from $ 207.14m on tak­ing of­fice, to $ 419.152m. That is why we all got large rates and charges in­creases. The bor­row­ings were for the 5 ma­jor projects Team Tyrell, alias Townsville First, were so proud of.

No credit was given by Cr Par­sons to cur­rent Mayor Hill for re­vers­ing the Tyrell upward debt prob­lem, re­duc­ing it.

I have given a more elab­o­rate de­scrip­tion of these mat­ters to Crs Blom and Walker.



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