Posts Tagged ‘budget’

Seriously, why isn’t Marrickville Council thinking of the children?

May 26, 2013

Marrickville Greens have put questions-on-notice to Council recently, and the answers don’t stack up.  How can Council justify $1M+ for a Trophy Project, but delay desperately needed funds for childcare centres in baby-booming Marrickville & Dulwich Hill yet another year when there’s TWO THOUSAND children on waiting lists for early childhood care centres?

Meanwhile, Leichardt Council found $4M for 2 childcare centres, and the City Of Sydney Council found $55M.

In what way, exactly, is this “getting the basics right”, as Marrickville Labor’s slogan would have us believe?

Have a read:

http://marrickvillegreens.wordpress.com/2013/05/26/council-finds-1-million-for-artificial-turf-and-puts-new-childcare-centre-on-hold/

We’re hopping mad at Council’s… skewed priorities.  How about you?  Have you made a submission on Council’s draft budget?  It only takes a few minutes… and you’ve got 24 hours left to be heard.

 

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LAST CHANCE for Arlington Reserve

May 25, 2013

The deadline to “HAVE YOUR SAY” to Marrickville Council and object to the inclusion of funds to artificial turf Arlington Reserve in the 2013/14 draft budget is just 2 days away!  Please click the link, which will take you to Marrickville Council’s website page for public comment submissions.

Have you sent your submission yet?

We have a letter which we welcome you to use (see quoted text and attachment below), but we strongly encourage you to write your own (feel free to use ours for pointers :), as Councillors value a diversity of correspondence, not just quantity.

Alternatively,
Email:    coplan@marrickville.nsw.gov.au
This mail-to link will pre-fill your email with our submission.  Add councillors@marrickville.nsw.gov.au to the To: field if you want all 12 Councillors to receive it too.

You must make your submission by 5pm, Monday 27th May!

Please forward this email to all the people you know in Marrickville LGA and encourage them to “Have Their Say”.

Thanks for your support!

Our suggested Draft Budget Submission Letter follows, or click this link for the PDF: Draft Budget Submission (10May)

—————————————————

Dear General Manager

I write to you in connection with Marrickville Council’s draft budget for 2013/14. I have a number of concerns about the Capital Budget proposals, specifically in relation to Section 4720 Landscape Design & Project Management items 70427043 and 7079, Amenity Upgrade and Installation of Synthetic Turf at Arlington Reserve, Dulwich Hill.

I have summarised my concerns and objections to these items which are not in the interest of Marrickville’s rate payers:

Inequity

A high percentage of rate payers’ funds are being spent on one recreational facility, representing 31% of the landscape and design budget for the entire Marrickville LGA, and is a disproportionate amount of funds to be allocated for one park!

  • Proposed expenditure in the draft budget for Arlington Reserve is $1.055 million

2013/14 $950,000 artificial turf, $80,000 Kiosk and $ 25,000 change rooms

  • Arlington Reserve has already had major funds allocated from 2009 to 2013, totalling $1,435,172:

2009/10  $264,000 clubhouse, $34,910 Synthetic Surface Feasibility Study $19,642 consultant’s fees

2010 /11 $272,214 Natural turf works and irrigation

2011/12 $234,000 Sportsground, $200,000 Enhanced Upgrade

2012/13 $219,406 Sportsground improvements, $191,000 Enhanced Upgrade

Lack of transparency

Costs referred to in Councils report, (Arlington Reserve Playing Field Upgrade, file ref: 12/SF468/84658.12, 19 Feb 2013) have not been itemised in the draft budget and as such do not provide transparency over the true cost to rate payers.

  • The $950,000 does not cover the capital cost of synthetic turf.
  • Although mentioned in the report soil testing, removal of soil, drainage works, paving to reduce mud-tracking, soil and drainage modification, fencing and lighting improvements, site investigations, traffic/parking management plans have not been considered.
  • Projected on-going costs:

$47,000 Specialist Grooming Machine 

$10,000 FIFA Accreditation every 3 years

$500,000 artificial turf replacement every 8-10 yrs & Council’s acknowledged escalating “high disposal cost”

Funding

No clarification has been provided for the funding of this development. 

  • Council will need to borrow $2.45 million in financial year 2013/14 for capital expenditure.
  • What is the cost to rate payers from this borrowing in principal plus interest? 
  • Will this require additional borrowing, or a reduction in funding for basic services?

In conclusion, I do not approve of and request the removal of items 7042, 7043 and 7079 from the Capital Budget.

Yours sincerely,

 

Will Marrickville Councillors really vote for a ‘blow-out budget’?

May 17, 2013

How much for Arlington?!?

One of the most troubling aspects of Marrickville Council’s vote to artificially turf Arlington Reserve is “the numbers” – the actual cost to rate payers, both capital costs, and on-going operational costs – and particularly how many of these costs have NOT been included in the draft 2013/2014 capital or operating budgets, or in fact any public document.  Let me give you an example:

In 2009, Marrickville Council’s estimate to convert Arlington to artificial turf was $1.1 Million.

In the February 2013 report on options to be considered for Arlington, no specific figure was presented, but perhaps some Councillor’s deemed it reasonable to expect that it would be about the same as in 2009, give or take, but in so doing they ignored the volatility of global markets (where artificial turf is made) in the last few years, the new carbon tax that commenced last year, and other ever-escalating costs.

But what Council’s February 2013 report did list was a range of capital expenses, many of them not even specified with $ figures, merely mentioned.  Things like “the removal of between 300 to 500 mm of soil” (30 to 50 cm), to make way for the new surface and its underlying support structure, and a new drainage system (that’s right, Marrickville Council will be throwing away the brand new natural turf drainage system installed just 3 years ago).  If Council had even reasonable estimates of such costs, why not specify them?

After some ‘back of the envelope’ calculations (estimating the field to be 105m by 65m, removing just 300mm of soil, estimating 1 cubic meter of soil weighs 1700kg (could well be heavier, given Arlington’s hard clay soil), and where land-fill costs rose sharply by up to 20% after last year’s Carbon Tax commenced, now at around $95 per metric tonne in Sydney), it could cost Marrickville rate payers at least $330,000 just to dispose of this soil.  OK, so soil isn’t “municipal waste” and may well be somewhat cheaper to dispose of, or perhaps Marrickville Council knows of someone or somewhere else willing to accept 3500 metric tonnes – 3.5 million kilograms – of soil…

But this is just one example!  Others costs named, but not specified or itemised in Council’s report include:  soil testing, drainage works, paving to reduce mud-tracking, soil and drainage modification, fencing and lighting improvements, site investigations, and traffic/parking management plans.  Ongoing costs for artificial turf maintenance include operation of (labour) and maintenance of the $47,000 “specialist grooming machine” (unspecified), $10,000 for FIFA Accreditation every 3 years, and around $500,000 for disposal of the artificial turf surface every 8 to 10 years.

But our question is, were these costs included in the 2009 $1.1M estimate, or in the 2013/2014 draft budget?  With the absence of specific costing of so many items in the February 2013 report, and a Council staffer who mentioned in the 16th April general Council meeting that ‘the tender process had barely begun’, it seems unlikely.

So what exactly did Council vote for on 19th February?  Do they even know, with any reasonable estimate, what this project is really going to cost?

And what exactly will they be voting for next month when they approve the draft 2013/2014 capital and operational budgets, which include a lower figure of $950,000 for artificially turfing Arlington?

If Council does have fair estimates of these costs, why not publish them?  It would go a LONG way to dissipating the high level of mistrust and acrimony that currently exists between Council and citizens on this issue.  Or would these figures confirm the farcical sleight-of-hand that it *appears* to be?

Has a situation been orchestrated, or simply transpired, where this project will commence without either Councillors or citizens being fully informed of even fair estimates of actual costs, and once the true costs are known be in a position where it’s too late to stop?  A ‘budget blow-out’ like this seems 100% preventable.

Do the people pushing this artificial turf agenda even care what it costs?  Or is it just a Trophy Project, and a political situation being exploited to ‘make good’ on the disappointment some voters might have felt when they were denied a plasticised Arlington Reserve in 2009, all justified on the laughably shallow argument from certain Councillors that they ‘tried in 2010, they put down new turf and a new drainage system and had it all laser-levelled, but the pitch keeps failing!  What else can they do?!?’, they shrug faux-helplessly.

For how much longer will Marrickville Council avoid responsibility for the mistake it made several years ago in allowing TWO soccer clubs to call Arlington ‘Home’ (in contravention of their own governing body – Football NSW’s – recommendations) and making Arlington “unique” in the entire Marrickville LGA, and play on it at competition levels of wear-and-tear clearly in excess of Arlington’s ability to cope, with the utterly predictable result that at the end of every winter soccer season the pitch is deemed unacceptable for play?

Artificial turf may address that problem, but at what cost to rate payers, with clear consequences to local residents, and at the expense of which other Marrickville LGA facilities and community members struggling for funding for far more basic services?

“Have Your Say” on Council’s draft 2013-14 Budget

May 10, 2013

It’s time to “HAVE YOUR SAY” to Marrickville Council and object to the inclusion of funds for artificial turf on Arlington Reserve.  Please click the link, which will take you to Marrickville Council’s website page for public comment on their draft 2013-14 Budget.

We have a letter which we welcome you to use (see quoted text and attachment below), but we strongly encourage you to write your own (feel free to use ours for pointers :), as Councillors value a diversity of correspondence, not just quantity.

Alternatively,
Email:    coplan@marrickville.nsw.gov.au
This mail-to link will pre-fill your email with our submission.  Add councillors@marrickville.nsw.gov.au to the To: field if you want all 12 Councillors to receive it too.

Or snail-mail:
The General Manager, Marrickville Council
PO Box 14, Petersham  NSW  2049

You must make your submission by Monday 27th May!

Please forward this email to all the people you know in Marrickville LGA and encourage them to “Have Their Say”.

Thanks for your support!

Our suggested Draft Budget Submission Letter follows, or click this link for the PDF: Draft Budget Submission (10May)

—————————————————

Dear General Manager

I write to you in connection with Marrickville Council’s draft budget for 2013/14. I have a number of concerns about the Capital Budget proposals, specifically in relation to Section 4720 Landscape Design & Project Management items 7042, 7043 and 7079, Amenity Upgrade and Installation of Synthetic Turf at Arlington Reserve, Dulwich Hill.

 

I have summarised my concerns and objections to these items which are not in the interest of Marrickville’s rate payers:

 

Inequity

A high percentage of rate payers’ funds are being spent on one recreational facility, representing 31% of the landscape and design budget for the entire Marrickville LGA, and is a disproportionate amount of funds to be allocated for one park!

  • Proposed expenditure in the draft budget for Arlington Reserve is $1.055 million

2013/14 $950,000 artificial turf, $80,000 Kiosk and $ 25,000 change rooms

  • Arlington Reserve has already had major funds allocated from 2009 to 2013, totalling $1,435,172:

2009/10  $264,000 clubhouse, $34,910 Synthetic Surface Feasibility Study $19,642 consultant’s fees

2010 /11 $272,214 Natural turf works and irrigation

2011/12 $234,000 Sportsground, $200,000 Enhanced Upgrade

2012/13 $219,406 Sportsground improvements, $191,000 Enhanced Upgrade

 

Lack of transparency

Costs referred to in Councils report, (Arlington Reserve Playing Field Upgrade, file ref: 12/SF468/84658.12, 19 Feb 2013) have not been itemised in the draft budget and as such do not provide transparency over the true cost to rate payers.

  • The $950,000 does not cover the capital cost of synthetic turf.
  • Although mentioned in the report soil testing, removal of soil, drainage works, paving to reduce mud-tracking, soil and drainage modification, fencing and lighting improvements, site investigations, traffic/parking management plans have not been considered.
  • Projected on-going costs:

$47,000 Specialist Grooming Machine 

$10,000 FIFA Accreditation every 3 years

$500,000 artificial turf replacement every 8-10 yrs & Council’s acknowledged escalating “high disposal cost”

 

Funding

No clarification has been provided for the funding of this development. 

  • Council will need to borrow $2.45 million in financial year 2013/14 for capital expenditure.
  • What is the cost to rate payers from this borrowing in principal plus interest? 
  • Will this require additional borrowing, or a reduction in funding for basic services?

 

In conclusion, I do not approve of and request the removal of items 7042, 7043 and 7079 from the Capital Budget.

Yours sincerely,