Letter | Let's look at the numbers and see what we can find

I BELIEVE residents are taking a stand against inaccurate information being asserted by the mayor and Oberon Council in a public forum.

The 2017 end of term report declares funding of $800k for the community hub. This could not be substantiated. Council informed councillors in October 2016 having $320k including the promised $100,000 from the State Government. Federal Member Andrew Gee's promised $100k didn't eventuate.

In May 2019 readers saw in the mayor's column that council will use $374,429 in funding already set aside for this project. This amount could not be substantiated.

Information obtained under Freedom of Information (GIPA) confirms council received a grant of $120,290 (April 2014). Council charged $70k early 2017 to the grant. Business papers since 30/6/2017 confirm $50k was left of the original grant, declared in five subsequent Quarterly Business Review Statements (QBRS).

Where is the motion authorising charging $70k specifically to the $120k library grant? The only reference found was in the April 2015 report from the director of finance: "Total project cost is estimated at $167,990 with Council committing $20,000 cash and $24,700 in in-kind project management and administration costs to the project. It is proposed that any additional cost of fitting out the extension will be met by allocating up to $16,000 of the 2015/16 Disability and Geographic adjustment funding which Council receives each year as part of our Local Priority Project funding from State Library of NSW."

That's a report - not a motion.

The May 2017 business papers state council is allocating $220k incl a $120k carry over from the Town Improvement (TI) fund.

Where is the motion approving the $120k 'carry over' or even a statement as to where this $120k is sourced from? Was the $120k grant mistaken as a TI funding allocation? In support of Keith Sullivan's letter last week, the TI fund does not appear to be designed for projects like the Hub.

Further fanciful figures were found comparing the TI funding balances shown in audited financial reports. Council collected $463k in 2018 from ratepayers and the balance increased from $692k to $1.092 million, a neat $400k in one year.

Since 2011, council has accumulated $885k (27 per cent) from TI levies not spent. Instead of spending these funds on town improvements, they generate interest of $5517 and $7099 annually. Is Oberon Council subscribing to future yet to be declared plans saving (town) ratepayer funds in the TI fund?

Could this be an attempt to finance the $950k Community Hub or even bigger projects?

I believe the library extension/Community Hub is riddled with fanciful words and unsubstantiated claims quoting numbers which just don't add up. GIPA information confirms we never had $800k, or $374,429 or $320,000. These figures are nothing but fanciful.

Ratepayers deserve transparency in actions, not just in words or fanciful facts.

Hardy Draheim