Mayor, council deserve plaudits on money matters
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.