My questions regarding council debt remain unanswered: Traill

Dear Sir,

Summer is fading, the kids are back at school, the holidays are over and reality has to kick in again.

So our Council is back in session.

It would seem that since my last letter some things have changed, for example we have a new first citizen in place: Councillor Stevenson. Congratulations Mayor. I do hope it isn’t a bitter draught.

We had an independent councillor; which could have been good for the community.

Could it be that somebody waited until the elections were over before telling him he couldn’t stand?

No not possible surely as it would have been a little unfair on a man who has the community at heart; (not a party or his job), don’t you think, but rules are rules and so what’s to become of the vacant seat?

How does our council look now?

Out of 16 seats eight are now DUP and the next largest are Sinn Fein with three.

So presuming that everything works like Stormont these two will be voting together with a working majority. Ok hands up everybody else who believes this.

Ah well, so the DUP are in the driving seat. I just hope they have indicators to let us all know where we’re going and not sitting in the back playing granny’s old game of pizzle sticks and that somebody has found the steering wheel.

Just think, with that lost and lonely seat one party could have majority control.

Hence no body will be surprised that my questions have still not been answered and just to remind everybody, here they are again.

Is it true the Borough Council is presently £9.9 million in debt? (Annual Audit Letter 27 January 2011).

Is it true the Borough Council has told the Auditor that it is intending to borrow another £3.3 million? (Annual Audit Letter 27 January 2011).

Is it true that at the Council rates meeting of the 9th February the Director of Borough Services said ‘…substantial cuts proposed (by the DUP group through the present Mayor) were not prudent.’? (Council Minutes 9th Feb 2011 940.2)

Would the present Mayor please explain what the following means;

P22 -Waste collection Plant and vehicles -£36,000

(An addition to version 5 quoted from the Council Minutes 9th Feb 2011 940.2)

Is it true that the present Mayor and Councillor Robinson both sat/sit on the North East Rural Development Joint Committee on behalf of Ballymoney Borough?

If so, would they mind explaining to the ratepayers why no applications for funding of community projects at Ballybogey, Stranocum and Balnamore have ever been made? (Reference article the Times of the April 20th 2011 titled ‘Outrage over community halls funding deferral’)

The cost (if grant had been applied for and been successful) to the Borough would only be 25% of the total as reported. (Ballybogey would only cost £60,000 instead of £240,000; plus interest on a 30 year loan)

These questions then lead on to others such as the Joey Dunlop Leisure Center car park. One has to ask the question; who championed that bit of spend?

The car park itself, which I have used frequently, would not appear to have required that amount of care in these straightened times. However, far more worrying is the application of payment.

It is recorded in the CRS minutes of the 25th May that an application for a loan from the DOE for £25,000 to be repaid over 20 years was to be asked for in relation to the car park costs.

The total cost is reported as £42,000. Yet another bit of debt to be added to the Borough credit card along with the other loan sanctions at a total of just under £400,000.

I hear that song ring down the years - ‘Here we go again’.

David Traill