Members & friends of The Cygnet Association are invited to the
Annual General Meeting on Thursday 27 Oct 2016, 5.30pm
at the Red Velvet Lounge.
Nominations for office bearers and committee invited now or on the night.
Enquiries 0402 401 975 or firstname.lastname@example.org
We’d like to get to know you better.
You’re invited to the Red Velvet Lounge
6.30pm on Thursday, October 27th
for an informal and convivial gathering.
The RVL has kindly offered to supply snacks while we’ll subsidise the drinks.
Our intention is to get together members and friends of as many community groups in the Cygnet area as possible, to explore our common interests and how we can do things together – and make this an even better place to live.
ABC-TV’s “Back Roads” programme with Heather Ewart will be in town during the week and her crew has been invited to come and film the event. Her programme about Cygnet is due to go to air early in the New Year.
Please RSVP: By email to email@example.com or call or SMS to 0402 401 975
Let us know if you can come and please forward our invitation to members of your group, their spouses and partners and to friends.
Huon Valley Council wanted Mayor Peter Coad gone, says leaked Page Seager report
ALEXANDRA HUMPHRIES, Mercury
12 October 2016
THE Huon Valley Council requested Local Government Minister Peter Gutwein to ask Peter Coad to resign as mayor, a leaked report shows.
The Page Seager report was the council’s official response to the draft board of inquiry report.
According to extracts of the report, the council asked Mr Gutwein to “explore the possibility” of the mayor voluntarily resigning from the office of mayor but envisaged Cr Coad would remain a councillor.
“The root cause of the dysfunction is the inability of the mayor to comprehend and fulfil his role and functions,” the report said.
“The most effective and appropriate course of action is for the mayor to step down from the office of mayor and for a new mayor to be elected.”
A particular concern was “the failure of the mayor to properly represent and be spokesperson for the council”.
The report said the council would accept the board of inquiry’s recommendation that the council be dismissed if Mr Gutwein would not ask for Cr Coad’s resignation, or if Cr Coad refused to voluntarily resign. The council approved the response in a special meeting held in April this year.
Cr Coad, Cr Liz Smith and Cr Ian Mackintosh walked out of the meeting before the vote due to “procedural concerns”.
The report said it would be inappropriate for the general manager to be present at the meeting when the proposed response to the minister was considered and inappropriate for the mayor to vote on the council’s response.
Mr Coad said he had asked the (acting) director of local government to investigate concerns he held about the report.
Mr Gutwein used State Parliament in mid-September to call for Cr Coad’s resignation after Cr Coad withdrew from a mediation process required as part of ministerial directions handed to the council in June.
Cr Coad refused to resign.
Mr Gutwein dismissed the council effective from Monday this week, and appointed former Glenorchy Mayor Adriana Taylor as commissioner for 12 months.
Keep Australia Beautiful
has just awarded a Heritage and Culture certificate of excellence to:
Le Weekend Team
Le Weekend at Cygnet – Celebrating Cygnet’s French history
CYGNET WORKING WITH WOOD EXPO
Showcasing local artisans & craftsmen
This event brought to you by the Port Cygnet Men’s Shed focuses on promoting local artisans and craftsmen, working with wood or timber as their medium.
Come along to the public expo showcasing these incredible displays with an opportunity to purchase beautifully handcrafted timber products.
If you would like to host a stall at the Expo, or for more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0417 931 683.
Come strengthen your core
Cygnet CWA, in conjunction with the Huon Valley Council, has been focussing on women’s health issues. As part of the series on preventing falls, we will be looking at ways to strengthen our core.
Physio, Alison Viner, will be working with us on Thursday September 1. Come along to Bridge Cottage in Burton’s Reserve, Cygnet, and join us at 12.15pm. There will be a light lunch provided and the event is free.
For catering purposes, please indicate your intention to attend by phoning 0408 082 255.
HUON / D’ENTRECASTEAUX BOUNDARY ADJUSTMENT
HUON VALLEY COUNCIL is seeking ratepayer feedback on a proposal to change the boundary of the Huon Municipality by including all of the Channel area south of Margate, including Bruny Island. Deadline for comments: 12th August.
This would be a very significant change and we suggest you have a look at their proposal.
Click here for: Boundary adjustment information
The Cygnet Association would also be interested in your views: email@example.com
Local resident David de Burgh has had a good look and the Felmingham Report that HVC is presenting as the economic rationale for pursuing this project. Here is his opinion:
The Huon Valley Council has put the Huon D’Entrecasteaux Boundary Adjustment out for public comment via an online survey. The survey is accompanied by the Felmingham Report 2015 which the Council commissioned to provide an economic analysis of the proposal. The Huon D’Entrecasteaux Boundary Adjustment involves merging that part of Kingborough south of and including Margate (MS in the report) with the Huon Valley Council and is termed M1. It was compared against Huon Valley remaining as it is and against M2, a merger of Huon Valley with all of Kingborough except for Taroona.
The report concluded that M1 was by far the the most viable option. The M1 option produced an annual operating surplus of $3.5 million compared with the current Council’s surplus of $636,000, resulting, in a positive economic outcome for the area’s residents. When I first read the recommendation I was intrigued as to how the merger could produce a six-fold increase in Council’s operating surplus and so I decided to have a closer look at the Felmingham Report.
I discovered that the Felmingham Report contains a number of inconsistencies and questionable assumptions that in my opinion, invalidate its conclusion on the economic benefits of the M1 option. Chief among these is the assumption that a 65% increase in the Huon Valley Council’s population would only cause its expenses to increase by 17%. It is this assumption that is largely responsible for the impressive surplus calculated for the enlarged Council area.
To calculate the likely financial surplus for M1, the Report starts with the Huon Valley Council financials for 2010/11 and creates a new income and expenditure statement for M1. To the Huon Valley actuals it adds estimates to accommodate the additional MS area and population as follows:
The end result of this is summarised in Table 1 (Columns 2 and 3 numbers are taken directly from the Felmingham report):
The Report explains that the factor of 1.17 was chosen because it was the average weighted increase in the population of the M1 area between 2006 and 2011. What that has to do with the anticipated costs of servicing an additional 10,000 residents is never addressed. The seemingly obvious answer is that the 17% figure has no relevance to this calculation.
Elsewhere in the report a completely different method is used to calculate the decrease in expenses if Kingborough Council divested itself of the Taroona area. Here the Report suggests that because Kingborough, with a population of 34,000 is losing 3100 people, its expenses will reduce by 9.12% (3100/34,000). No explanation is given as to why this method isn’t applied to M1.
Table 2 shows the results If we do apply this same method to the M1 calculation.
Now the $3.5 million surplus has become a much more believable deficit of $1.4 million. This means M1 is the worst of the three options rather than the best. The best option is clearly M2 both on the total surplus and a per capita basis.
Other matters in the report that caused me concern included:
• The comparison table of financial statements uses the Surplus before “non cash assets identified” for the Huon Council but Surplus after “non cash assets identified” for the Kingborough Council. This gives a skewed view of the relative surplus of each Council.
• The 2010/11 financials are used for both Huon Valley and Kingborough when 2014/15 were available.
• Correctly, no increase factor is applied to the revenue of the three Huon Valley medical and child centres in the M1 calculation (as they won’t be affected by the merger) but the 1.17 factor is applied to the expenses of the centres.
• When comparing the 3 options in the summary of findings, a surplus for M2 of $1,242,000 is used instead of the report’s calculated figure of $2,965,000, understating the M2 surplus and per capita benefit by a factor of 2.4.
• The 10 year projections for the 3 options are calculated using the 1.17 factor. In this way M1 achieves a surplus of around $4.65 million in year 10 and an accumulated surplus over the 10 years of over $40 million. However if we use the starting point calculated in table 2 we end up instead with an accumulated deficit of $17 million. Straight line projections over such a long time period need to be treated with great care, especially if you have the wrong starting point.
After accepting the Felmingham report’s conclusion on the viability of the Huon D’Entrecasteau Boundary Adjustment, the Huon Valley Council developed a Community Engagement Plan. A report tabled at the June 22 Council Meeting reveals that “Through much deliberation” it was decided that an online survey would be “the most efficient and effective in ensuring broad engagement”.
The survey would “request a post code from respondents to clarify their location and understand where their interests lie”. The engagement will also “provide the means to inform the community about the current resource sharing arrangements between the Council and others so they can make an informed judgement “ .
The Plan was adopted by the Council, with only the Mayor and Cr Smith voting against it.
So what did the Community end up receiving to enable it to make an informed judgement?
Unfortunately not very much. Survey participants are invited to read the Felmingham Report but no other information concerning the proposal is provided. The promised information on resource sharing is not mentioned. The Felmingham Report is all you have to base your opinion on when you start the survey.
The greatest attribute of the survey is its brevity. There are only 2 questions. The first one is whether you would like the Council to continue investigating the proposal. You have a choice of Yes or No. The second question is your post code. There is then a box where you can make a comment.
No questions to find out whether you would like a full merger with Kingborough or no merger at all. No questions that would provide useful information such as whether the participants were ratepayers, whether they were long term residents or recent arrivals, whether they were business owners, or were satisfied with the service level they currently received etc? Definitely not a survey designed to learn very much. Also no illumination on how, by knowing your post code, the Council will “understand where your interests lie”.
So the Huon Valley Community is provided with a survey of questionable value about a project of questionable viability. Many of us wouldn’t need the help of an expensive academic report to tell us that adding Margate south including Bruny Island to Huon Valley Council would not create a financial utopia. Common sense would suffice for most Huon Valley residents.
It is disappointing that no one at the Council appears to have queried the figures in the report. Perhaps because the report told them what they wanted to hear they didn’t look too closely. I suspect that if the report had recommended the full merger with Kingborough as the most viable option (which it appears to be) the report would have been quietly buried.
From my analysis the Felmingham report should never have been used as the basis for pursuing the Huon D’Entrecasteau Boundary Adjustment. That it has, is an embarrassing and costly action by those Councillors and staff pushing this merger option.
- David de Burgh is a retired accountant and company director who has lived in the Huon Valley for 14 years. He served as a Councillor at the City of Melville in Western Australia from 1997 to 2001.
- Dr Bruce Felmingham has been invited to respond.