In his 30 day report, the Central Coast Council Interim Administrator, Dick Persson, criticised the previous Council for not reducing expenditure after it received less revenue than expected from the 2019 IPART water rates determination.
Now, Mr Persson’s colleague and successor, Rik Hart, is making the exact same mistake in response to IPART limiting his 15 per cent rate hike to just three years (“Administrator asks local MPs to back permanent rates increase” CCN July 2).
Rather than budgeting to live within his means, Mr Hart has adopted a long term deficit budget.
It only balances because of a groundless assumption that IPART will change its mind.
This financially irresponsible deficit budget puts the Council on track to run out of money sometime in 2024/25.
In that year, they will once again face the embarrassment of being unable to make payroll.
In eight months of administration, all Mr Hart and Mr Persson seem to have done is slugged ratepayers, borrowed money, and kicked the can down the road to 2024/25.
There is still no integration plan to liberate back office savings from the merger despite Mr Persson having criticized the previous Council for not producing one.
Productivity has fallen because the Council has cut services despite having more staff than the pre-merger figure of 1,875 quoted in Mr Persson’s 30 day report.
The senior bureaucracy remains expensive and ineffective.
Nothing seems to have been done to improve the performance culture of senior management.
Witness the latest gaffes and mishandling of the Woy Woy playground issue.
Money continues to be wasted – the latest example a pointless $1.8M referendum that seems little more than a Dick Persson vanity project.
IPART has been generous to the Council with ratepayers’ money in approving a three year rate hike.
It is time for Mr Hart to accept the umpire’s decision, live within his means, and improve Council performance and productivity.
Email, Jul 5
Kevin Brooks, Kincumber