Glenorchy close to collapse
A major Hobart council is “perilously close” to insolvency.
Glenorchy City Council made headlines late last year after all its aldermen were sacked by the Tasmanian Government following years of dysfunction and in-fighting.
Amid the animosity, defiance and distrust of the former council - finances were allowed to fail.
Lord Mayor Kristie Johnston, who was re-elected in January, has blamed her predecessors.
“It is that serious, that with a series of deficits that have occurred over a number of years, major project failures, the cost of the board of inquiry and significantly reduced cash reserves, we are perilously close to insolvency,” she said.
“That could be, depending on the decisions we make, as soon as 12 months, so it's quite a serious concern to us.”
Alderman Johnston said council would leave “no stone unturned” in its efforts to identify savings, saying “asset sales, lowering employee costs, core and non-core services” are on the table.
Those measures could include a double-digit rate increase percentage.
“We haven't yet set a figure … but we are looking at something in the high teens,” she said.
“It's not a fair situation and I am angry, and the community is angry.”
Glenorchy has previously held amalgamation discussions with other metropolitan councils in Greater Hobart, but the mayor says that sort of deal would require a rate rise too.
Local ratepayers have aired their views on Alderman Johnston's Facebook page.
“Maybe all rate-payers withhold paying the ‘extra’ amount until those arseholes are made accountable,” one commenter proposed.
“Raising rates is not the solution to what is corrupt and inefficient operations. There needs to be a sound and solid internal review of current management practices and a decrease in outsourced contracts which are costing a fortune. There also needs to be a rationalising of staff,” another suggested.
Others called for the community to “get behind our council and support their efforts to fix the mess”.
A public meeting about the council's financial position and proposed budget will be held on June 19.