Let­ter to the edi­tor

The Cobram Courier - - NEWS -

Spend­ing con­cern

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


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