Letter to the editor, November 8, 2018

Photo: File.
Photo: File.

Many ratepayers have a deep respect for their councils.

However, in the case of the Coorong council, which has a serious communication problem, people have lost their respect.

For retiring Councillor Bob Simcock to call a group of well-meaning ratepayers “bastards” shows a complete lack of respect for the members of his community.

To have his comments backed up by fellow Councillor Mick O’Hara is deplorable.

I highlighted my concerns with the financial state of the Coorong council, evidence of which has been collated for the past 10 years, based on council’s own financial statements.

One would have thought that the elected members would be interested in such information.

Only one councillor has shown interest, having questioned council but, as usual, having been ignored.

The last five years have seen the Coorong council raising its rates, service charges et cetera to levels far in excess of the CPI Adelaide index.

The Coorong council shows decreasing population, being an expensive place to live, unlike Murray Bridge.

Another example of council’s expenditure relates to its employees and contractor costs, which have exceeded the council’s general rate revenue by in excess of 11 per cent.

The average rate increase over the past eight years has been an estimated 7pc, with long-term liabilities having increased by an estimated 133pc 2010-18.

Council’s long-term financial plan shows quite clearly that council has little option for further increases; it should be noted that the past four years have not improved.

The CEO has just been given a $10,300 increase in his package – how is this justified?

The Coorong council has shown many alarming financial warnings, and ex-councillors Bob Simcock and Mick O’Hara have shown little interest in the financial competence of council.

Perhaps one may ask: if Bob Simcock was genuinely interested in the financial status of the council’s annual reports, why then did he not make contact with the so-named ratepayers?

The likes of Bob Simcock refrained from any communication with ratepayers or groups.

In my view, the 2017-18 annual financial reports data is questionable.

Hopefully the new members will demand a forensic audit.

Council’s own independent auditor has noted that council lacks certain information.

Mr Simcock should remind himself of an old proverb, something you say that means people should not criticise someone else for a fault that they themselves created – the pot calling the kettle black.

Bruce Pennington, 8 Gardener Street, Wellington East

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