Elephant in the Room

Region gathers voicing concerns about their Districts financial future and a proposed $20 million community loan at the Coorong District Council Annual Budget Meeting, Tuesday June 5, 2018.

As prepared deputations and questions from the floor were directed through the Chair, Mayor, Mallee Ward Representative, Neville Jaensch of Tailem Bend, guests in the gallery found themselves being entertained by colourful chest beating and grandstanding by some at the meeting, resulting in some leaving the meeting, not much the wiser.

After some time, it seemed that the elephant in the room was the financial burden of managing and maintaining our districts roads with less support from State and Federal Government. (More details in Tailem Topics soon)

Road

With rumours rife before the meeting, Tailem Topics asked the Coorong District Council (CDC) the following;

 Is it a fact or fiction that the district needs to borrow $20 million to stay afloat into the future?

If this is a fact, how will the CDC fund this loan and the substantial yearly interest? and

If the CDC did not borrow the $20 million, what would need to change and what services would need to be cut from the CDC budget?

As of the date of publication, Tailem Topics has not received a formal response to any of these questions, however, we found that questions one and two were addressed at the meeting resulting in our understanding that;

The CDC needs to borrow $20 million to stay afloat into the future.

The CDC will fund this loan and the substantial yearly interest from general revenue.

The last question remains outstanding and would be the most difficult to discuss openly, as many in the community may not want to hear what needs to change and what services would need to be cut from the CDC budget.

Should the community borrow, make changes or go without? What changes need to be made to keep our district’s roads safe?

If you have any comments or ideas, please share them in Letters to The Editor by emailing them to tailemtopics@gmail.com  or dropping them into the Red Box at the Tailem Bend Post Office.

$20 Million Loan

A brief response from Vincent Cammell, CEO, Coorong District Council as questions are asked and letters to The Editor from concerned residents are prepared for the August issue of Tailem Topics:

Road

We understand that the Coorong District Council (CDC) needs to borrow $20 million to say afloat into the future – is this correct?

If this is correct how will the CDC fund this loan and the substantial yearly interest payments?

If the CDC did not borrow the $20 million, what would need to change at the CDC and what services would need to be cut?

A brief response from the CEO:

The statement is incorrect. The Council finishes the 2017/18 financial year in a good financial position. Council is proposing to increase its road funding above inflation over the next ten years to the tune of 11.9 million dollars (above inflation) which certainly puts pressure on Council’s budgets (this increase in expenditure represents a figure equivalent to 10% of total rates in year 1). As Council cannot raise rates to the level required to fully fund this figure it instead uses a mixture of debt and service level changes else where to balance out its budget long term.

The use of debt to increase the quality and value of its road network is sound business planning and is in direct response to the community’s requirement for an improved standard of road.

Further work has been done on the Long Term Financial Plan that indicates a total debt position at the end of ten years of 14 million dollars or the equivalent of 70% of rate revenue and reducing. This is directly relevant to the large increase in its road funding while noting that Council will still return to a surplus budget in the 20123/24 financial year.

Council is constantly reviewing the services it supplies again what its community wants and believes that it has the mix right at this point of time. The challenge for the current and next Council is to ensure that the community’s requirement for services is balanced against the broader community’s ability to pay – which is a complex assessment in its own right – and is further complicated by the changing mix of undertakings the Council has to deliver due to State Government direction. The changing nature and level of State and Federal Government funding also dictates and affects service delivery outcomes.

The Long Term Financial Plan as considered by Council on the 26 June 2018 represents all currently known information in relation funding and is a solid representation Council’s continuing process to deliver against community requirements.

 

Show Time

With its premiere in just five weeks and with over sixty locals in the cast, band and technical support, Tailem Bend’s Town Hall is humming as finishing touches are applied to the community’s acclaimed Rotary Music Hall.

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Rehearsing since late April, with nine rehearsals to go, Music Hall 2018’s Show Time is in full swing with cast refining melodies, synchronising choreography, polishing ditties and memorising lyrics for their opening matinee at 2 pm on Sunday, August 5.

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Dynamic, uplifting and charming, with so many fabulous choruses, Show Time audiences will find themselves singing along, tapping their toes and even mysteriously, falling back into love.

With encores and curtain calls guaranteed, young and old will enjoy Tailem Bend’s Rotary Music Hall 2018.

Don’t miss Show Time at the Tailem Bend Town Hall, Sunday, August 5 at 2pm, Wednesday, August 8, Friday, August 10 and Saturday, August 11 at 7.30 pm. Tickets are only $20 and are on sale from early July from – Hughes Newsagency, 69 Railway Terrace, Tailem Bend and Murray Bridge Newsagency, Sixth St, Murray Bridge or online at www.tailembendmusichall.com

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