Message from the Shire President

Published on Friday, 16 April 2021 at 9:58:13 AM

incurred for each item of activity or service and this enables Councillors to know the true cost when making strategic decisions.

Now to explain the Toodyay Recreation Centre loans. Two State Treasury Corporation short-term interest-only loans totalling $4.5 million were used to fund the construction phase. The plan was always to convert the two smaller loans into a single long-term loan of 20 years before the loan termination date of 23 June 2021 to avoid having to repay $4.5 million back this financial year. At last January’s monthly council meeting, a full six months before the short-term loan deadline expired, the Manager of Finance recommended that:

‘That Council in accordance with the requirements of section 6.20 (2) of the Local Government Act 1995, confirms by absolute majority, the Shire’s Intention to Borrow – Conversion of Existing Short-Term Facilities into Long-Term Facility of $4.5 million and authorises the CEO to provide public notice of this intent for at least one month.’

Councillors had three options to consider:

  1. Repay the $4.5 million construction-phase borrowing in full, which was never envisaged and financially impossible.
  2. Keep the two short-term loans until June 23 and pay only the interest this financial year, or
  3. Convert the two smaller loans to a single long-term borrowing over the next 20 years and start paying off the amount borrowed.

The January Council meeting voted 6 - 0 to defer any action until after the March budget review, which meant delaying a loan decision until the March 23 council meeting. The State Treasury then advised Council in February to act as soon as possible because of the time needed to convert the shire borrowings. Because at least an additional month was required to advertise the intention to borrow, State Treasury could not start processing the application until May. Therefore, by March we did not have time to complete the conversion and pay any principal, so there was no reason to delay or discuss at the Budget Review. Council needed to act expeditiously to ensure that everything was in place for June 23. Proper process was followed, and a decision was finally made last month when the council voted 8-0 to approve the loan conversion and advertise it for 30 days. Now the challenge for Council is to increase the use of the Shire’s excellent facilities to attract local and outside use and reduce the cost burden to the community.

Toodyay’s security and future prosperity lies in ensuring every council decision produces an outcome that justifies the cost and is based on strong forward planning.

Debate means to ‘argue about a subject or a formal discussion on a particular matter’.



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