Carol Altmann – The Terrier
It isn’t pretty, but this old shed speaks volumes about the waste that has gone on within the Warrnambool City Council (#notallWCCstaff) over the past decade.
Long-time followers of this site may remember that this shed cost the council more than $100,000 in 2015: $40,000 to buy it and $63,000 to pull it down and relocate it from Wangoom Rd to west Warrnambool.
It is my understanding that it has since been sold off by the WCC for $2000.
It has basically been reduced to scrap metal, at a loss of $101,000 to ratepayers.
That is $101,000 that could have been used far more productively elsewhere.
The back story to this shed is that it was supposed to become part of the WCC depot, but the cost of reassembling it, and its poor, rusty condition, saw that idea tossed out the rollerdoor before it had even rolled.
The WCC tried to cut its losses early by auctioning off the shed before it was moved from Wangoom Rd, but it was passed in at $20,000 after failing to attract a single bid: nobody wanted to pay good money for a rusty old shed that would cost a mozza to move and re-assemble.
We – the poor old ratepayers – were stuck with it and have since taken a $101,000 hit.
How does this sort of waste happen? (#notallWCCstaff)
This is the question underpinning the push for a forensic look at all council spending from the last 10 years and the decision making and policies around this spending, because it is this decade of waste that is now coming home to roost.
It goes beyond the council’s 81 corporate credit cards, even though credit card spending is a full-colour, big-calorie category that leaps off the page.
It extends to rusty sheds, and roundabouts, and toilet blocks, and Flagstaff Hill upgrades, and $3 million blowouts on Liebig St, and trips to China, council marquees at the racecourse, endless conferences, blowouts on the Simpson St tunnel, the exorbitant contract to run the pound….you get the picture.
Ratepayers expect to pay rates.
But what ratepayers also expect is a clear return on their investment.
We want to see the council spend our money wisely and cautiously: every cent of it.
It doesn’t matter if the dollars are coming from ratepayers or taxpayers – it is all public money and this is why Ratepayers Victoria is taking such a close interest in what is happening in Warrnambool right now.
Ratepayers Victoria has written again to the council this week, in light of Mayor Tony Herbert saying he didn’t believe there was a need for an independent audit into the council, even though all the other councillors now agree that there should be one.
RV is joining the call for a full review of council spending, going back 10 years:
“We would respectfully suggest that unless council conduct a 10-year retrospective audit of all council staff and councillor expenditure and publish it fully and frankly then you will not sufficiently address the groundswell of community anger,” the letter says. (Read the letter in full here).
RV is spot on there.
At the end of the day, all ratepayers are asking for is transparency and accountability: two little words that roll off so many councillors’ tongues and turn up in so many council reports.
Transparency, accountability…and showing us value for money.
It’s not much to ask for, and the community is asking for it now.
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