Call for Council to renegotiate loans
THERE is pressure from some ratepayers for the Whitsunday Regional Council to renegotiate the terms of its debt in order to avoid high increases in rates and charges and the major projects levy.
However, Mayor Jennifier Whitney says the Queensland Treasury Corporation (QTC) continually monitors Council’s financial situation and provides weekly forecasts.
She says the QTC also visits on a monthly basis to meet with her and the CEO Scott Waters and the Chief Financial Officer Matthew McGol- drick. Dave Nebauer from the Bowen Collinsville Enterprise Centre is one person who believes the current repayment structure is unacceptable and says Council should renegotiate to ease the pain from ratepayers.
Mr Nebauer is also the Chairman of Whitsundays Marketing and Development’s Economic Development Strategic Advisory Group.
He addressed a special meeting of Council in Bowen last Wednesday.
Mr Nebauer says council debt is about $71 million and that with the current loan arrangements, the re- payments for principle and interest would be about $194,000 a week.
“That means it would take about eight years to pay back the loan and that is fundamentally unacceptable,” he said.
He said renegotiating the loans would take the heat off ratepayers in the short term.
He wants the mayor, the CEO and key community representatives to meet with the Premier and the Local Government Minister to explain the circumstances.
However Cr Whitney says Council is committed to repaying the debt and implementing the 2013/2014 budget.
"We have a very cooperative relationship with the QTC, and the QTC has advised us that there will be the possibility of reviewing our current emergent funding arrangements ahead of the next financial year," she said.
"If Council is able to renegotiate the terms of the emergent funding, Councillors will make that decision next year during budget deliberations.”