Councillors lead to believe CCS loan would come from TCorp. Claims TCorp told Council they had “risk issues.” Were six Councillors referred to the OLG over the walkout? If so why were only four penalised?
Yesterday we published a story rebutting a claim by the Coffs Harbour City Council (CHCC) via their Heart of Coffs Facebook site that they had never wanted a TCorp loan and that Westpac had not rejected the for a loan.
By The Editor
That story can be read here; https://coffscoastoutlook.com.au/we-never-wanted-a-tcorp-loan-and-westpac-didnt-reject-us-council-really-we-respond/
As can be seen in that story we reproduced an article we published on 14 February this year citing a response to questions from Cr Sally Townley about the loan. The key one fro our point of view was this response;
Q3 Council has been offered loan by T Corp less than 2% with rate fixed for 20 years (a 30 year loan). Or can seek from bank. Current loan liabilities are around $8M per year costs (interest). As Council pays down its current loan liabilities (around $230M), loan costs will reduce from these other major loans (finished sometime after 2030 I think?).
The 19 February CCO article proceeded to feature in a discussion among some 200 responses to Council’s claim on the Heart of Coffs Facebook site.
Questions asked by ‘Together We’ll Fix It’ (TWFI) team candidate Nikki Williams (second right in the photo below these screenshots) and were ‘linked’ to Cr Townley so she could see them via her own Facebook feed.
Cr Townley responded as follows, and as reproduced directly, as screen shots, from the Heart of Coffs Facebook site;
As can be seen Cr Townley makes it explicitly clear that Councillors were told several times finance would come from TCorp and that it would be at less than 2 per cent. She also says she publicly stated this.
She also laments the way Council went about, speed-wise at least, in dealing with TCorp.
The only people, one presumes, who could have told Councillors this information is senior Council Management. Which rather puts the statement on Heart of Coffs deeply into questionable territory.
More Info on the loans
As Council meets tonight to decide whether to approve what is essentially now a third loan application for the already under contsruction CCS, this time with the CBA, explosive claims as to why TCorp would not ave loaned monies to the CHCC have surfaced.
TWFI Mayoral candidate, Rodger Pryce, (pictured above with three of the four other TWFI candidates) yesterday posted on his Facebook site that; “TCorp told our Council that for them to consider a 30 year loan, our Council needed to reduce the risk of the cash investments that Council are holding, by moving investments out of BBB and unrated entities to get the total amount to below 40%.
In summary: Our Council have over 40% of our cash invested with facilities which, TCorp, being the NSW Treasury, consider to be too higher risk for them to grant us a 30 year loan. And that is why we are not borrowing over $50 million from the provider of the lowest rate of interest available.
For our Council to say, on their Facebook page, that they were not knocked back by TCorp because they never applied for a 30 year loan, is a disgrace.
WE NEVER APPLIED FOR A 30 YEAR TCORP LOAN BECAUSE WE HAD ALREADY BEEN TOLD WE WERE TOO HIGH A RISK.”
(Reproduced by CCO as presented on the Facebook page).
If correct, his would be another reason for TCorp not to loan as suggested to Cr Townley and others in addition to the statement made by Minister Hancock in 2020 that the CCS did not comply because it included Council administration offices.
The question arises then; “Did Council staff know of the above if/when they told Councillors TCorp would loan for the CCS?’
If the answer to that is ‘yes’ then it is a very serious matter indeed! And were they being 100% accurate in the following document given to Councillors under agenda item BS 21/41?
How many Councillors were referred to the OLG for the walkout?
You may have seen a comment and question made by me under yesterday’s story on the loans. If not I reproduce it here;
“Our four Councillors, Amos, Rhodes, Swan and Arkan, responded to the people’s will to challenge the inclusion of Chambers in our Cultural Precinct. This issue has enraged most of our citizens for two years, a petition bearing 15,000 signatures, over 800 written objections to the development and hundreds of letters to the Minister of Local Government. For their loyal service, all four Councillors were reprimanded and fined. Unbelievable!
Can someone throw light on an equally important issue that has been brought to the attention of Coffs Coast Outlook?
Is it true that six Councillors were reprimanded for breaches of conduct relating to this event? If so, Ms Fishburn should make *full disclosure* of her findings and name the other two Councillors.”
We understand we may hear more about this today. If our information is correct it is potentially explosive.
What have the penalised four Councillors got to say?
The ABC yesterday published a very worthwhile story on the reactions of Councillors who were penalised by the OLG.
- Four Councillors have had their payments suspended for two months after ditching meetings
- They were found to be in breach of the code of conduct
- One Councillor said he refused to attend to protest against a $76m development
- Cr Swan says she is questioning whether local government is the place for her.
Read the full ABC story here;