The Beagle Editor
Late last year, by media release, our Council announced it had accepted a multi million dollar grant to upgrade facilities at the Eurobodalla Regional Botanic Gardens.
The Botanic Gardens project has been being developed or redeveloped since the 1994 bush fires when it was razed and completely burnt out. After the fires advice was sought about whether to proceed or not with the project. Council agreed to proceed providing recurrent budgets till the year 2000. After that the project was expected to find is own sources of funding.
But for some reason the Council resolution of the time wasn’t adhered to .
Since then recurrent budgets of around $800,000 annually have been provided from ratepayer funding, as well as grant funds applied for and accepted. The rebuilding and general operations of the Botanic Gardens south of Batemans Bay at Deep Creek have been occurring for around 25 years now. A lot of our rates along with other public funds have been ploughed into the project now. When council was recently asked, by written correspondence, what the recurrent budgets and grant funds now total, they replied that a cost of $30 an hour would apply to provide the information required because it would take time and staff resources. The reply was signed by Councils Director Corporate and Commercial Services.
Surely council has a separate ledger or similar documenting all costs, budgets etc. applying to the Eurobodalla Regional Botanic Gardens that the press of a button can access and reveal. With the Botanic Gardens being as successful as is claimed 70,000 visitations last year or about 1300 a week almost 200 a day you’d expect those at council responsible for finances, including the Audit Committee councillors, would know the numbers. But for some unknown reason they haven’t got a clue when asked.
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