I was stunned at the level of inaccuracies in Cr Bradley Drew’s letter in the Sentinel-Times last week.
Cr Drew states that Bass Coast Shire “is the only council to meet asset renewals at 100 per cent…” Assets are roads and footpaths and anything owned by the council (which of course, really belong the ratepayers).
I have no idea what figures Cr Drew is looking at, because quite clearly (refer page 27 of the adopted BCSC 2016/17 Budget) asset renewal for this year is targeted at 74.8 per cent and dropping further to 71.7 per cent next year.
How can this be interpreted as 100 per cent?
There are certainly other councils, which do indeed meet the 100 per cent, essential renewal rate.
Other inconsistencies abound in Cr Drew’s letter. He states “In the past two years alone we have seen a decrease in staffing numbers by some 20+ with middle to general management a focus”.
Staffing figures as provided by the BCSC do not support this assertion. I would also ask Cr Drew, where is the $3 million saving he speaks of?
On page 40 on the Bass Coast Shire 2016-2017 Budget, it clearly shows that staff expenditure of $29,255,000 which is an increase of more than $1 million in the past two years.
Cr Drew also mentions that BCSC should be applauded in regards to its reduced Operations Cost – again I would point Cr Drew to the Comprehensive Income Statement on page 35 of this year’s adopted Budget, which actually shows an increase of some $485,000 over last year’s Total Expenses, with the forecast for Total Expenses for the following year 2017/18 to increase by a further $3 million.
Perhaps the most telling thing contained in the Financials for this year is the amount of revenue spent on Capital Works within the shire.
The state average of revenues received from rate income, invested in capital works within a shire is 45 per cent.
For large rural shires, the average is amount of rate revenue spent on capital works is 49 per cent.
In the Bass Coast Shire, we spend 21.2 per cent of our rate revenue on capital works.
The shire’s official comment on these figures: “Bass Coast is indeed well below the state and large rural council average, however (it) does not have the lowest ratio in Victoria and is among nine (9) Victorian council’s with a ratio of less than 30 per cent”.
What – are we in a race to the bottom?
I think that one essential requirement of all elected councillors, is that they have an understanding of the Financial Statements, which are presented to them.
Pamela Rothfield, Rhyll.
Way off the mark