LAST week I commented that 2014 rates had recovered a whopping 29 per cent more than the 2013 revenue estimates (not the budgeted 17 per cent), for 2014. That is the $10million increase grew $16million to $69.1million. A year later council has approved a further 5.3 per cent to a huge $73million, from 2013 estimates of $53million.
With audacious stealth, councillor remuneration is budgeted to increase 24 per cent for 2015, on top of their 6.1 per cent 2014 increase.
No matter 2015 rates revenue increases of general rates (6%), water (6%), sewerage (10%) and waste collection (5%) will contribute to an overall 7 per cent average increase, only offset by a 1.6 per cent increase in water consumption charges. Yet the mayor’s press release announces "4 per cent in line with CPI". What CPI is she referring to? CPI has not exceeded 3 per cent over the last three years.
I pointed this out to a number of councillors (including two who voted for it), yet ratepayers interests were again ignored by all but two Bowen councillors.
The mayor reports a $22.4million operating deficit when the real first ever deficit is $26.8million; A $73million debt, when the budget papers show $76million, given her latest self-inflicted $10.8million NDRRA cave in.
Not surprisingly, numbers and financials have never been her or this Council’s strength.
I remain astonished at of the audacity of this Council. Huge capital overspends continue to be funded at ratepayer short-term expense, with massive repayment of short-term loans and overdrafts over two to three years when their accounts will depreciate them for 12-20 years.
I’m told the CEO in summing up, proudly said he expected next year’s surplus to grow from the budget $1.3million to as much as $12million in 2015.
Yep, that is the only number I agree with confirming this ratepayer punishment should’ve been avoided. John Barnes BOWEN