Former Moira Shire employee says numbers in draft 2014-15 budget don't stack up.ROB HENSON May 28, 2014 3:15am
Moira Shire’s finances have been called into question by a former employee who accuses council of misleading its ratepayers over rates and the municipality’s financial health.
Former Moira Shire chief financial officer Adrian Pawar this week circulated an ‘urgent’ email to councillors, local media, Local Government Minister Tim Bull and Local Government Victoria executive director Nick Foa.
It comes after hot debate on council’s draft budget document at public meetings at Numurkah, Nathalia, Cobram and Yarrawonga last week.
Mr Pawar said residents in the shire’s four major towns would be slugged with a 9.55 per cent increase in rates and charges for 2014-15, as opposed to four per cent (varying between rating categories) presented in public meetings.
But Mr Pawar said the ongoing financial health of council was more concerning:
Employed for seven months and resigning late last year, Mr Pawar said: ‘‘I was there, giving report after report about this, nobody wants to listen.’’
He also claims that project grants, provided by the Victorian Government for specific purposes, were being portrayed as open revenue.
He said part of the council’s problems stemmed from overstaffing and over-reliance on external contractors.
‘‘How can the community sit back and say they have to accept increases in rates, while council are not doing anything to address their overheads in a structured manner?’’
Moira Shire Council chief executive Mark Henderson said council had recorded Mr Pawar’s email as a submission on the draft budget.
‘‘We will review it with all the other draft budget submissions and provide a response to correct his interpretation of the draft budget,’’ Mr Henderson said.
He said Mr Pawar’s analysis included some ‘‘very simple errors’’.
‘‘For example the organic waste service charge does not apply to all ratepayers — the service will only be available in the four major centres.
‘‘The project grants received but not used last year appear again in this year’s budget (for example, the Cobram Library) — they cannot and have not been used for other purposes.
‘‘There are also several technical errors, for example: charges to be collected includes provision for supplemental revaluations.
‘‘Materials and consumables are not solely driven by capital works — for example we have grant funding to purchase bins and caddies for the organic waste service and spend considerable funds on road maintenance materials.
‘‘Council’s proposed budget will move council into a much stronger financial position against all VAGO financial indicators including liquidity and enable us to deliver unqualified audit reports each year.
‘‘We acknowledge that the shire has to closely monitor its cash flow and over time will need to move to an operating surplus.’’
The sky was the limit when it came to learning about the Royal Flying Doctor Service this week.
Jake Thompson has an eagle eye and a steady hand and he put both to good use recently when he won the U15 Australian Snooker Championships, held in Adelaide.
The Aboriginal and wider community is mourning the death of revered Bangerang Aboriginal elder, Uncle John ‘‘Sandy’’ Atkinson.
SUZANNE’S School of Ballet has once again proved its place in the ballet world with 19 of its 30 exam students blitzing their recent Cecchetti ballet exams in Melbourne.
PLANS are in full swing for the 18th annual Farm and Road Safety Expo in Rochester.
Merrigum’s rise to prominence in the Kyabram District League premiership battle reached new heights in Saturday’s 16th round when it became the first side to lower Avenel’s colours this season.
Local export Willie Wheeler dominating at VFL level
Berrigan Shire councillor Daryll Morris says he has been sickened by some of the vitriol and personal attacks to surface since the council’s proposal to redevelop Finley’s Memorial Hall and School of Arts site was revealed in October last year.
HEATHCOTE is being swamped by Pokémon and wannabe trainers, armed with smart phones and iPads, who are trying to catch ‘em all.
Children have been treated to a journey through their imaginations while being encouraged to unleash their inner writers at Barooga Library.
Sixteen local students competed at the NSW PSSA and CHS State Cross Country Championships in Sydney.
SPC will abolish its internal sales team and reduce executive numbers in the latest chapter of the company’s ongoing restructuring.
The News magazines are online - read high quality magazines in your time. Check in regularly for the latest editions.
Riverine Herald's well regarded locally produced magazines. They're now online, so you can read them whenever and wherever you like.
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.