Letter to the editor
Moira Shire’s annual report reads well in certain respects, but it shows council and shire officers have again failed to spend, for the benefit of residents and businesses, the considerable amounts it collects from ratepayers.
I’ve drawn attention to this failure in each of the past two years and, unfortunately, have to do so again.
The shire’s financial report for 2017-18 shows a surplus (ie a profit) of $7.8 million — that’s almost one quarter of the rates paid to the shire last year.
And it has accumulated even more than in past years — $35.2 million — in funds sitting uselessly in bank accounts earning a meagre rate of interest.
Those funds should be spent on the many worthy causes around the shire and in satisfying unmet needs of the shire’s businesses and residents for new and enhanced facilities.
The 2017-18 profit follows sizeable surpluses in the previous three years and funds on hand (cash at bank and term deposits) have grown from $24 million to $35 million during the past three years.
Claims are made by the shire that these funds are earmarked for capital projects.
But such claims have been made in the past and projects that would reduce the excess funds are still not being commenced and the funds are continuing to accumulate.
There seem to be problems here. The shire is not doing its job properly.
The shire has guaranteed income each year from rates, so there is no reason why it needs to continue making profits and accumulating funds.
The shire is not a business. It does not need to make a profit for shareholders, but it does need to spend accumulated funds for the benefit of residents and businesses.
These funds are, after all, ratepayers’ money, not the shire’s.
Ratepayers deserve an explanation for the poor performance of the shire. Mick Shadwick