Bud­get con­cerns

Whitsunday Times - - WHITSUNDAY VIEWS -

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.