It appears the dire financial situation of the City of Fremantle has shocked some elected members with Councillor Doug Thompson even questioning at the FPOL Committee if the City needed to spend the relatively small sum of $ 54,000 on the first stage of a new club building at Parry Street for the Fremantle Workers, Tennis and Bowling clubs, which is a financial collaboration of the Workers Club, CoF and Department of Recreation and Sport.
Becoming financially more prudence is clearly required and Councillors and officers need to sit down and prioritise expenditure and find savings.
Councillors might have to reconsider the purchase of one or two of the Warders Cottages as community benefits for that are questionable since the cottages are tiny and have limited community use and hence will create limited income for the City but constant expenditure.
While the sale of the Knutsford Street depot will create a big sum of income for the city it might want to reconsider building a new administration building at Kings Square and compromise by extending the present one.
The present building boom will over time see a substantial rate increase for the City with more people buying residential and commercial property in Fremantle, but that is still many years away from making a positive impact on the City’s finances.
Fremantle is in a transformative state of substantial development that will see the City grow and prosper with more tourist, residential and office accommodation. That will also boost the retail and hospitality industries, but council expenditure needs to be more focussed and that can start with the administration increasing its performance in most areas and reducing the costs of external consultants, etc.
It is fantastic to have big plans and dreams for Fremantle, but financial reality has to come first so let’s put a focus group together that will make recommendations to Council on how to improve the City’s financial performance.
The City of Fremantle’s financial position is not very good according to the latest CoF Financial Year 2016 financial statements prepared for the Audit & Risk Management Committee, which includes comments made by the auditor on financial ratios.
A significant loss has been recorded for FY16 and well below budget, and there are pretty unflattering comments about CoFs’ financial ratios.
Assets Sustainability Ratio is below regional & state level, Debt Service Ratio which indicates ability to service debt is limited and declining, and Operating Surplus Ratio has continued to trend downwards and is below both regional and State averages.
The reports states ” …To help alleviate the continued erosion of ratios both the Council and management will need to consider ways to improve the operating position either via increasing revenue or by decreasing expenditure (or combination of both).”
I wonder how much of the expenditure is for personnel cost as there appear to be new people on big salaries popping up regularly at the City of Fremantle. Maybe it’s time for new CEO Phil StJohn to stamp down on expenditure and make his mark as this downward trend is a worry.
The very popular Fremantle HIDDEN TREASURES Winter Music Series continues tonight, so head out to the West End.
At the National Hotel are Riley Pearce (7.30), Leaf Crown (9.00) and a DJ from 10.45.
At the Buffalo Club it will be High Horse(8.15) and The Last fair Deal at 9.30.
At Bar Orient you’ll find Great Gable(8.00), Psychedelic Porn Crumpets(9.15) and Red Engine Caves at 10.30.
The Navy Club will show a Special Guest at 9.00 and Tim Rogers at 10.15.
PS Art Space has Pow! Negro at 8.00 and Soukoss International at 10.45.
All venues are in High Street but for PS Art Space which is in Pakenham Street. Tickets $ 15.00 only.