LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Moira Shire’s financial performance
The shire’s annual report reads well in certain respects, but it shows that council and shire officers have again failed to spend, for the benefit of residents, organisations and businesses, the considerable amounts it collects from ratepayers.
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 over the past three years.
The shire has announced plans for more capital expenditure. Let’s hope those plans will be achieved this year. Such plans have been made in the past, but sufficient projects that would reduce the excess funds were not commenced and funds continued to accumulate.
The shire has guaranteed income each year from rates and other sources, 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 shire residents and businesses. These funds are, after all, ratepayers’ money, not the shire’s.
Mick Shadwick, Burramine