We are no longer ratepayers, nor stakeholders, we are shareholders.
Our financial contributions paid to our Council, we should view as entitling us to shares in our own entity, that being the Coffs Harbour LGA. As shareholders we decide if our investment in our own Coffs Harbour, is providing an acceptable return, or not.
By Rodger Pryce
Comparing our plight to the shareholders in other NSW Local Government Areas, we are not doing very well.
According to the NSW Government report on the returns shareholders receive, throughout NSW, including every LGA, our shares for some of us, in the form of rates, cost the 2nd or 3rd highest, compared to every other LGA, however the returns we receive on our investment, in the form of services provided, languish well below average.
If, as suggested, we are shareholders in our community through the rates and charges we pay, and, the return on our investment is identified as the services we receive, then we have a very poor investment.
The money being collected is not coming out the other end, the way it does in other Local Government Areas in NSW.
This is a fact, not a rumour, this can not be denied.
Following the 4th September 2021 elections, the newly elected Council would be applauded, if they urgently engaged, fully independent, forensic accountants, appointed by the Mayor and Councillors, to determine why, that the amount of cash going in, is not coming out the other end, as it should be, in the form of services to the shareholders.
It should also be recognised that the level of services received, impacts greatly on the ability of the other shareholders represented, to run their businesses, live there lives and to enable visitors to enjoy the area.
If our Council was a public company (maybe it is, in my opinion), the board would be replaced, the executives would be closely looked at and changes would be made.
Being aware of the shareholder sentiment that exists, currently, in Coffs Harbour, would a board of directors, represented in this instance, in the form of Councillors, be ever likely to commit the shareholders to a project that was once, only a matter of weeks ago suggested to have a debt level of $80 million?
I think not!
And now, the executives of the company, in the form of the Council Executive, are recommending to the board of directors, that the debt level increase by a further $1.886 million. The shareholders in this poorly performing corporation, we were led to believe, only recently, that the debt for this project, was secured by a fixed price contract, the shareholders were suspicious and it now has been proven, they were right.
Will the shareholders on 4th September, replace the board, with a new board committed to engage independent forensic accountants?
The public corporation, known as the Coffs Harbour LGA, has an exciting future, it is an unbelievable area to live in, to invest in, to raise a family, to pursue leisure activities, with the best climate ever.
We need to fix it, because it is not financially healthy and it is getting worse.
First published on Thursday 22 April at the Coffs Coast Independent News (CCIN)Facebook site and reproduced with the permission of the Editor of CCIN.