The Beagle Editor, We read with interest that the Eurobodalla Delivery Program and Operational Plan have been adopted. Thse in the Bega Valley Shire might be interested in our own Delivery Program 2017-2021 & Operational Plan 2018-2019 and our most recent media release saluting Orwell …
Having attempted to review the documents placed on public exhibition on Friday, May 25th, 2018 relating to the draft Revised Delivery Program 2017-2021 & Operational Plan 2018-2019, the BVSRRA concluded that there was insufficient information included in the documents to permit a meaningful critical analysis.
Accordingly, the BVSRRA wrote to BVSC on May 28th, 2018, confirming that:
The only detailed Income Statement provided is at a consolidated level (page 121), whereas the draft budget papers placed on public exhibition last year contained detailed Income Statements for the General Fund (page 144), the Waste Fund (page 145), the Sewer Fund (page 146), the Water Fund (page 147) & the Consolidated Income Statement (page 143).
The financial information provided for the General Fund, the Sewer Fund & the Water Fund in this year’s documents is only a summary in comparison to last year’s detailed breakdown provided for each fund. There is also no separate comparative information provided for the Waste Find.
There are no financial estimates provided that detail the Budgeted Income, Expenses & Results for individual Service Areas, as was the case in the draft documents placed on exhibition last year.
The BVSRRA called on BVSC to immediately publish the same detail of financial information that was provided last year in respect of the Operating Plan & Budget for 2017-2018 as, without that basic information, calls by councillors for community participation in the Budget process are simply meaningless.
On Friday, June 22nd, 2018, the BVSRRA received a response to its request from BVSC's general manager, which noted:
“As you have observed, the format is different to the previous year’s draft. The change in format is in part due to a reduction in staff in this area, following Council’s resolution to reduce employee costs.”
In a salute to George Orwell, the general manager concluded her letter by stating:
“Should you have any specific questions relating to the draft Operational Plan and Budget for 2018-2019, or wish to make a submission, please write to the General Manager”
Needless to say, having waited three weeks to hear back from BVSC in respect to its earlier query, the BVSRRA had already submitted a GIPA Application requesting specific details of important information not included in the draft documents placed on public exhibition.
On Monday of this week, the BVSRRA again wrote to BVSC's general manager, requesting copies of any information provided to councillors in respect of the draft Revised Delivery Program 2017-20121 & Operational Plan 2018-2019, which had not been placed on public exhibition on May 25th, 2018.
The BVSRRA is of the view that if councillors have not been provided with the information sought by the association, then they will not have been in a position to critically assess the merits of the plans going before council today.
On the other hand, the BVSRRA believes that if councillors are in receipt of information relating to the draft Revised Delivery Program 2017-2021 & Operational Plan 2018-2019 that was not placed on public exhibition, then residents & ratepayers should have been made aware of that information, so as to better inform & improve the community’s understanding of council’s plans, while enhancing its capacity to comment meaningfully on those plans.
Bega Valley Shire Residents & Ratepayers Association