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Village a burden on city: Council

Friday, 30th August, 2013

By Erica Visser

Staff and residents will have to wait until the middle of next year to know the future of Shorty O’Neil Village.

After two years of contemplation, City Council on Wednesday night decided to hire a consultant for $26,000 to draw up an Expressions of Interest document to attract a private provider to manage the aged care home. 

The Town Employees Union and SOV staff had put forward passionate pleas to Council to abandon the plan to outsource the residence and instead focus on reining in expenses which have spiralled out of control in recent years.

Council has admitted to the BDT that staff would be worse off under a private provider.

However, newly-appointed General Manager of Council, Therese Manns, said that it was impossible to cut expenses by enough to break even.

“Council currently subsidies the village by providing over $1 million from ratepayer funds each year and Council is unable to afford this subsidy into the future without additional income,” Ms Manns said.

“Council has reviewed the ability to generate additional income for the facility, however much of this is regulated and is unable to be increased to meet the deficit. 

“The fact is our expenses are too high. That doesn’t mean that we close our doors; it means that we look at ways of doing things differently to ensure our residents are looked after now and in the future.”

Mayor Wincen Cuy said that the wellbeing of residents was paramount.

“Our ageing community is our priority here. This decision has been made to ensure the best possible continuing care for current and future residents at the Shorty O’Neil Village,” he said.

The consultants, Clarinda Group Pty Ltd, have a background in aged care and local government.

They will start looking into the EOIs next month but is not expected to come up with a solution until mid 2014.

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