We are told, especially with the current election fever, that our council is financially sound, even prospering.
So where’s all the money coming from, and where is it going?
All this monetary prosperity comes from our rates. We have the second highest rate increase in SEQ – we pay higher rates than the Gold Coast and Brisbane!!
Where’s it going? That’s the tricky bit – financial transparency is a real problem when we have a council wearing two hats – that of a local government collecting rate revenue to provide services, and that of a developer of our CBD, our Airport, the Under Sea Cable among other “game changing” projects.
These projects have required that we go into debt, and who services the debt?
We ‘hope’ these deals are fiscally sound, because if they go belly up our rates go up with them.
We need to know if we are getting value for our rates but these projects are ‘commercial in confidence’ – there goes the transparency and accountability with public purse expenditure.
Residents of the Maroochy Canals contacted me late last year and I’ve been working with them on the evident neglect of their artificial waterway.
Given my experience with the Twin Waters canal system, and the proposal to join another one to our existing canal – I learned a lot from our brains trust and endless reading about constructed waterbodies, engineering structures, tidal prism, erosion, water quality and all matters associated with these problematic developments.
Did you know canal estates are banned in other states?
The good people of Maroochy Canals have gone about their busy lives paying rates and taxes expecting that in turn this revenue in directed back to on the ground services.
Budgets have been slashed under the new leadership in an ever decreasing reduction in basic maintenance.
Continued lobbying and requests for budget reports fell on deaf ears year after year. Once these people data mined with the help of a barrister paid for at their own expense, they were finally able to see the budgets.
Looking at the budgets and actual expenditure for canals and waterways is revealing:
From the budgets
2010/11 waterways $4.649 milliion
2011/12 waterways $5.720 milliion
2012/13 for coast and canals $1.218 million
2013/14 for coast and canals $1.949 million
2014/15 for coast and canals $2.070 million
In 2014 in the 10 year projections it was estimated at over $2 million per annum.
The actual expenditure is recorded in the annual reports from 2013 year after the new council is approx one quarter of the budget in the 2013 and 2014 years
2010/11 waterways $3,108 milliion
2011/12 waterways $5.107 milliion
2012/13 for coast and canals $439,000
2013/14 for coast and canals $531,000
2014/15 for coast and canals $1.546million
$ 5 million 2011/12
THEN A DRASTIC CUT TO ..
This coincided with the new council.
Fancy slashing the budgets for ALL our constructed Waterbodies on the Sunshine Coast, some of which are in serious need of repair, and then pushing hard for yet another one at Twin Waters West at the same time?. I thought we can’t afford the ones we’ve already got given the budget cuts.
A corporate restructure saw our local government begin to operate like big business – cutting corners and clawing back profits, slashing on the ground service budgets, escalating fees, permits, licensing and fines.
User pays – I thought we did pay??
Hmmmmmm, unfortunately, we don’t all live in a corporation and now there is a lot of discord in our communities as a result.
WE NEED TO GET BACK TO BASICS, STOP TREATING PEOPLE LIKE WORKER ANT CASH COWS, AND THEN LOOK AT GAME CHANGERS ONCE THAT IS TAKEN CARE OF.
BECAUSE ITS CHANGED OUR LIVEABILITY, OUR DEMOCRATIC INCLUSION AND THE RIGHT TO HAVE OUR RATES SPENT ON WHAT MATTERS TO US AND OUR DAILY LIVES.
From the Sunshine Coast Daily – thanks Matty Holdsworth
“Division 8 council candidate Kathryn Hyman said she had been in contact with the frustrated residents for months.
The budget has been slashed and these people trying to get their canal systems fixed are getting nowhere,” Ms Hyman said.
“Lots of people have raised issues over their neglected waterways.
“Why is council actively pushing the Twin Waters West canals, which is reliant on mechanical pumping, when it can’t afford to maintain this one?”
“ANGRY residents whose “paradise” has slowly deteriorated have questioned how Sunshine Coast Council is spending their money to maintain their waterway system.
Maroochy Waters residents, who pay a higher quarterly rate, claim their canals have not been regularly maintained for “years”.
They say it has led to a number of issues including exposed drains, banks eroded and boat ramps cracking.
“Questions were put to council regarding the above figures and to exactly how much money was being spent on maintaining the Maroochy Waters canals.
However council was unable to provide comment yesterday.”
“In October fellow resident Robert Franks also questioned where the money was being spent.
“Council I feel is obliged to look more closely at the financial aspects and you have to wonder where those funds have been used, elsewhere you would think,” Mr Franks said.”
Full article here (paywall applies):