The article by Geoff Helisma (CVI 17/8/16) presents some disturbing figures on the sale and subsequent lease back of the Bruce St depot in Grafton.
The site covers 1.77 hectares of prime realestate complete with fully serviced infrastructure and buildings and is immediately adjacent to the Grafton racecourse. Council’s General Manager describes the sale as “a good outcome for the ratepayers”. When the figures, including the terms of the Lease back arrangement and rates loss by Council over three years are analysed the net gain for the ratepayers is $527,628. Future rates rises over the three year term of rates exemption negotiated between the purchaser and Council administration would further reduce the figure.
While it may be a “good outcome” for some, it is very difficult to see “a good outcome for the ratepayers” anywhere here. We wonder how much support there would be in the Clarence Valley for a full judicial inquiry into the whole Depot rationalisation project and the asset stripping that is currently underway on the eve of Council elections, to fund it. Any inquiry might also ponder why this is costing ratepayers $14.7M plus the lost capital appreciation on the assets being sold when Council tells us the refurbishment of the existing depots would have cost only $8M.
Ian Saunders, Hon Secretary,
Greater Maclean Community Action Group