$5m loans sitting in the bank

WITH $5 million worth of loans sitting in the bank, Cr Jo McNally this week asked both engineering and corporate services why council hadn’t returned the money if it didn’t plan on using it.

The money, which initially CEO Rod Ferguson said hadn’t yet been borrowed when in actual fact it had, was to be used for capital road projects.

Now these projects have been put on hold due to flood recovery, Cr McNally said she was concerned at the interest mounting up.

“Aren’t we going to pay that back and reduce the amount of money owing?” she asked.

Corporate services director Andy Ireland said it was a council decision if it wanted to repay the money, but he recommended waiting first to see what engineering capital projects would be done next year.

“In terms of council’s debt situation, I know it looks like a lot of money but compared with our assets, we have a low debt,” he said.

“We’re still waiting to hear from the engineering department what capital projects will happen this year, then we can see if we need the money or not.”

Cr Neil Meiklejohn said he was concerned about the difference between spending the money on operational works and capital works, but Mr Ireland reassured him council would not be borrowing like that for operation works.

However, this didn’t quell Cr McNally’s fears and she voted against accepting the financial report to demonstrate her point.



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