COUNCILLORS Willcox, Ramage and Clark are to be congratulated, rejecting the budget without proper financial explanation. This extraordinary $9.4m rate increase to $63m (17.5%), or an average $525/lot, will be even higher and a disaster for many businesses/ratepayers with excess water. This is four times last year’s 4.5%.
With a $2.5m employee cost overspend posted (was $9m, until the CFO moved it out on budget day) added to $10m W&S project overspend ($99m disclosed by QTC), we’ve overspent $34m in 2013.
I wouldn’t be surprised if overspends are now double the $21m, spawning the $10m loan (as dis- cussed with Messrs’ Waters and Willcox).
Since then I was gob-smacked. 2013 surplus increased again to $45m ($30m above the previous regime’s budget), then a $10m increase in 2014 rates, saw a 2014 $17m deficit.
Similarly, touted “$1m in employee cost savings”, is now a $2.5m increase, imbedded with 4% compounding increase p.a.
So much for “on-going efficiency savings”, with virtually no surplus to speak-of thereafter.
Yes, the CEO inherited the loss of key experienced staff at the worst possible time during a $300m capital program. But he must now explain what additional overspends since; why WRC let go $38m of free 2011 NDRRA programs and the status of unspent NDRRA funds, which contribute to this unexpected huge rate increase.
Current $78m (loans/debt) were never the problem.
Repaying $10m in three years (not 15+ years like all infrastructure loans; absorbing $1m p.a.), penalising ratepayers and management cost disclosure are now ratepayer’s problem. John W Barnes Bowen