The draft budget and Strategic Resource Plan are currently out for ‘consultation’ – ie those residents who can be bothered to plough through pages and pages of the incomprehensible, and capable of ignoring the spin, the waffle, and the obtuse. We have already commented on how council has ‘changed the goal posts’ in its declarations of rate increases. But there’s much, much more, that demands clarification and explanation to residents in these papers – especially in light of the recent demands to improve on ‘reporting standards’.

GESAC

In the 2014/15 adopted budget we were told that the expenditure on ‘GESAC plant and equipment’ was set at $86,000. In this current draft budget, these costs have suddenly risen to $222,000 – that is a 300% increase on a building that is barely three years old.

But it gets even worse with the following – Glen Eira Sports and Aquatic Centre (GESAC) – Cyclical Renewal Works $7.29m over 10 years and Replacement of Plant and Equipment $2.79m over 10 years. That’s another one million dollars per year for ‘renewal’ and ‘replacement’.

We also have some serious issues in regards to ‘rectification’ works. For example: the 2014/15 budget set aside $617,320 for this work. The 2015/6 budget we are told that there is another $200,000 to be spent on ‘rectification’ works. Perhaps this latter sum is a ‘carry over’ from the previous year or, perhaps it is simply costing another $200,000 on top of the $600,000+? Whichever, these sums are not explained and if simply a carry over then why can’t the works be completed on time?

The figures become even murkier when on page 68 of the current budget it is stated –

4.2.4 Maintenance ($680k increase)

Increases due to: GESAC defect rectification works $645k and provision for improved maintenance of parks and gardens $137k (for grounds and gardens, cleaning bbq’s, plumbing, irrigation and wetting agents.

$645,000 does not gel with any of the figures presented elsewhere. How can there be another $645,000 for ‘rectification works’ when the budget claims an allocation of $200,000 for the coming financial year? And even adding 645 plus 137 comes out at $782,000 and NOT $680,000!

Elsewhere in the budget we find this sentence – Other short-term projects $510k (includes GESAC furniture and plant replacement and defects rectification works). (page 8)

If anyone has any idea of the real figure to be spent on GESAC we would be all ears!

CARNEGIE POOL

Glen Eira City Council is currently undertaking community consultation on a concept plan for Carnegie Swim Centre. The project will revitalise the Swim Centre to ensure it can sustainably meet community needs into the future. Council has budgeted $2.5m in 2017-2018 and $2.5m in 2018-2019. This project is subject to the Sports Recreation Victoria Better Pools funding ($2.5m).

We have to ask – what happens if the government grant does NOT EVENTUATE? Does this mean that the Carnegie Pool will be allowed to disintegrate and then closed?

The same questions need to be asked for the athletic tract and basketball courts at Duncan Mackinnon – Duncan Mackinnon Athletics Track Upgrade – to provide new track surface and associated infrastructure (subject to $650k SRV funding)

Duncan Mackinnon Resurfacing of Netball Courts (subject to SRV funding) 2017 onwards

The most significant question that needs answering however is –

HOW MUCH IS THE DUNCAN MACKINNON PAVILION OVER BUDGET? The 2011/12 adopted budget allocated $5.5 million for the redevelopment. The figure is now well and truly over TEN MILLION. Plus, given the fiasco with Maxstra, and more lawyer fees no doubt, another $1.36 million has been set aside in this budget to ‘complete’ the works.

This council has never come clean with any information on:

  • How many major projects come in over budget?
  • Why delays can equal years and years
  • What are the legal costs in such projects?

It’s no wonder that rates in Glen Eira remain at an all-time high, when staff costs keep going through the roof year after year. The explanation? Additional positions for increased use of existing open space and for the Open Space Strategy implementation!!!!!!!!!

The above comments are intended to draw attention to the lack of clarity, explanation, and seemingly contradictory statements throughout this most important set of papers. Unless residents are provided with real category definitions, and full transparency, then the ability to really analyse and question is negated. Perhaps this, after all, is the real intention?

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