Mayor, coun­cil de­serve plau­dits on money mat­ters

Townsville Bulletin - - OPINION -

RE­CENTLY at the bud­get amend­ment meet­ing ( a meet­ing that only hap­pens in Townsville), Cr Tony Par­sons de­liv­ered a state­ment to coun­cil that twice de­scribed the cur­rent bud­get as a good bud­get for the needs of the ratepay­ers of to­day.

That was a cor­rect state­ment – there is no ques­tion this coun­cil has done a very good job of keep­ing the city’s fi­nances on track.

Mark Mo­lachino sub­mit­ted a let­ter to the editor at­tack­ing Cr Par­sons’ re­sponse to the Mayor’s bud­get that can’t go unan­swered.

The fact is that apart from the un­funded rates freeze and wa­ter re­bate in year one and the ex­tremely costly and un­planned hard rub­bish col­lec­tion in years two and three, there has been very lit­tle change to the bud­gets pre­sented by the Mayor.

He also of­fered the stan­dard at­tack on coun­cil for its debt po­si­tion over the last eight years.

The facts are that the coun­cil, af­ter amal­ga­ma­tion, bor­rowed $ 243 mil­lion and in re­turn the peo­ple of this city re­ceived $ 1.2 bil­lion worth of new as­sets.

Those city- build­ing as­sets in­clude the re­build of Flin­ders St, North Shore Blvd, RSL Sta­dium, C2 at the Civic Theatre, the re­build of Kokoda Pool and the re­build of Mt St John treat­ment plant.

It is there­fore true that the La­bor state and fed­eral gov­ern­ments of the day saw the merit in these projects and con­trib­uted $ 1 bil­lion of taxpayers’ money.

We all con­tinue to com­plain that gov­ern­ments ig­nore the North. Here is an ex­am­ple of fund­ing pour­ing in.

It is an un­de­ni­able fact that this coun­cil would not have de­liv­ered four sur­plus bud­gets with­out the hard work and courage of the pre­vi­ous coun­cil.

They started their term with a bud­get deficit of $ 56 mil­lion.

The cur­rent coun­cil started with a deficit of only $ 1.5 mil­lion and the cur­rent Mayor still fol­lows the 10- year fi­nan­cial plan mapped out by that coun­cil. There is only one bud­get this term that did not pass with a unan­i­mous vote.

In the first year coun­cil­lors Hill, Walker and Doyle voted against the bud­get that de­liv­ered our first sur­plus in over 13 years.

The trea­surer of the pre­vi­ous State Gov­ern­ment said, “Sus­tain­able fi­nan­cial man­age­ment is not an op­tional ex­tra.” How very true. Even more so in this day and age of global fi­nan­cial anx­i­ety. We ac­knowl­edge the Mayor and all coun­cil­lors for keep­ing our city’s fi­nances on track.



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