It is a bit rich for Blue Mountains Labor Party Mayor to cry poor when he and his Labor councillors have voted to indulge in extravagant Taj Mahal cultural centres.
The Labor Party’s cultural centre in the Upper Mountains at Katoomba costs council half a million a year to run. The Liberal Party’s cultural centre in the Lower Mountains at Springwood, under construction is similarly expected to cost half a million annually to run.
A council report in April 2014 has revealed that council has underestimated what the Springwood centre (pictured below) will cost to operate and manage. An initial budget of $150,000 was provided for the first five months of the centre’s operation. That is now expected to be $200,000, while the forecasted cost for the 2015-16 financial year is $400,000.
So on the front page of the Blue Mountains Gazette, Mayor Mark Greenhill, has the gall to deliver an ultimatum to Blue Mountains ratepayers. Greenhill has been a councillor approving both Taj Mahal cultural centres. Now he expects ratepayers to fork out more to pay the running costs of two expensive cultural centres. One was built for Labor Mayor Jim Angel’s ego in his Katoomba ward, the second for Liberal Mayor Myles’ ego in his Springwood ward. Myles was just jealous and he wanted one too.
It’s a decadent tale of two fat mayoral egos being stroked before their retirement.
Providing good government?
Mayor Greenhill get the Liberal Party to fund this one and stop the mayoral Taj Mahals!
Greenhill presents three clear options – maintaining, reducing or increasing council’s service levels.
In true Labor spend thrift style, Greenhill, wants to spend more and charge ratepayers more. So it will mean that a resident with a current $1272 annual rate bill would find that rate increased 35% to $1725 by 2018/2019.
Greenhill claims the proposed rate hikes is about “resourcing our future”. Crap. It is about funding Liberal and Labor indulgences. Those expensive indulgences have meant that council is now operationally committed beyond its revenue means. Just maintaining funding as it is according to Greenhill, means that one fifth of community and recreation facilities is set to remain in poor condition and “unsafe facilities may need to be removed or closed”.
Yet, according to our sources, council continues to waste a million a year on legal fees fighting ludicrous battles and undisclosed expenditure on expensive consultants.
In 2008, council lost nearly $3 million from gambling ratepayers’ wealth in high risk Grange Securities. The interest rate was negligibly higher than that offered by government-guaranteed Australian banks.