Dear Beagle Editor, SHOULD THE COMMUNITY EXPECT HONESTY FOR AROUND $280 000+ PER YEAR?
It has been leaked that the majority of Councillors have decided to give the current council General Manager a new 5 year contract. So for my share of that bill I just want an answer to a simple question.
The current General Manager went to the community and claimed that council needed an extra $17 million dollars over the following three years (which she claimed council did not have) for a wish list of infrastructure works they had cobbled together, and that this would require a massive rate rise (totalling over 21%) to be phased in over 3 years (which will apparently continue forever)
Now the GM and Book-Keeper both fronted public meetings to justify these rate rises, (Read Peter Bernards "Enough to bring the House of Cards tumbling down") and in answer to community members in Narooma and Moruya as to how much council had in ‘Unrestricted funds’ (i.e. spare cash in the bank) Both claimed council had around around 70 million, of which $11 million was ‘unrestricted funds’ i.e. spare cash. Then the General Manager was asked why not just use that $11 million and look for the rest in savings over the next three years? So the GM answered that management like to keep about that amount in the kitty, for emergencies.
However after this second meeting we looked up the actual 'un-restricted funds' balance sheet figure, and discovered that council had far more than the claimed $11 million dollars. $26 million in fact, for the previous 2014 year, and this figure had been rising by millions every year!
e.g. In 2012 it was $16, 057 000 In 2013 it was $21, 431 000 In 2014 it was $25, 997 000 and in 2015 it was $29, 227 000
Now despite the community witnessing the GM and Book-keeper giving this apparently false $11 million balance figure (to justify the need for massive rate rises) and even the Bay Post editor at the time emailing me confirming what was said from her record, the GM and Book-keeper later claimed that they had explained to attendees that this was not the real unrestricted balance figure, but just what they personally thought it should be?
If anyone can swallow that one? (and ignore all the witnesses saying otherwise?)
So here is my simple question for this General Manager…
Dear GM, Why did you tell the community that council did not have the $17 million they claimed they needed (for these extra works) when council had $29, 227 000 dollars in unrestricted funds in the bank at the time of the proposed rate rise?
More than enough for not only the $17 million you claimed was needed, and the $11 million that you and Book-keeper felt was necessary to keep in reserve?
So how was this not ’fraud’ on the whole community? And do councillors not believe that the community deserves better from the General Manager who they pay over $280 000+ per year? Damian Rogers Moruya