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Councillors called out for their lack of any belt tightening of Council's budget that sees spike

There were some very strong home truths delivered to councillors last week highlighting the fact that they had done little if anything in turning the ever expanding enterprise of Eurobodalla around as per their election promises In the presentation by Dr Owen Cartledge addressing the Eurobodalla Council on 26 June 2018 in regards to their Delivery Program he voiced his disappointment and reminded councillors that ratepayers are not a bottomless pocket in funding an organisational that is showing no evidence of tightening spending. "Today we are presented with the ESC 2017-21 Delivery Program, and 2018-19 Operational Plan, all 'code' for the ESC Budget.

"The greatest disappointment in this Operational Plan is the failure of nine Councillors to proactively create a budget with new policy directions. Community Voice, Community Action Alliance and others in this chamber campaigned on reform, an efficient Council and trust. This inaction is as disappointing as the failure of the ERA to support their electoral platform of no SRV."

"Instead of implementing real efficiency gains along the lines of Percy Allan, councillors have looked the other way."

"The current Council inherited a Special Rate Variation (SRV) which was introduced into this chamber by on the premise that we had to be Fit for the Future and cover our obligations and associated new debt. "We have seen the outcome of excessive debt in many countries and states, Victoria being a recent example and now Queensland heading in the same direction. Here at the ESC, we are off the debt hook as we have 'intergenerational equity'.

"The budget is opaque. The presence or absence of corporate overheads is often unknown. E.g. about 30% - 40% of Batemans Bay parking meter collections were allocated for corporate overheads before the remaining dollars were put to work. Conversely, nothing was charged for staff time utilised in the Citizens Jury.

"The aggregation of activities in the budget creates possibly mysteries and secrets. E.g. I am told the crazy Mystery Shoppers Program is continuing despite the Mayor suggesting it was past its used by date. There are certainly a few other financial secrets floating around at the moment."

Dr Owen Cartledge

"My observation of the 2018, IPART SRV decisions, is frightening. "Any NSW Council who has their paperwork in order, and has made a small token effort towards efficiency gains gets a large SRV approved. Larger, local government, directed from Sydney is well underway. I trust you nine Councillors are not tempted to take the easy way again

"In Eurobodalla, the growing tourism, aged care and health systems all carry on in spite of the ESC.

"A progressive reduction of ESC administration and the ESC generally getting off peoples' back would encourage private sector employment. The recent sculpture fiasco is an example.

"In 2016 I took my ESC vote seriously, I am disappointed. The budget is the ultimate reflection of a Councillor's philosophy and policy. I do not see election promises in today's budget document, I see more of the same."

#Opinion #Council #LocalStateFederal #latest

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