CITY of Belmont has rejected a proposal from the Belmont Sports and Recreation Club (BSRC) to turn the council’s $50,000 interest-free loan into a grant although it agreed to defer payments.
The council debated the issue and voted not to support the request behind closed door’s at Tuesday’s council meeting.
The loan was given to the club by the council in July 2016 to help it repay debts, primarily its tax bill.
In a letter from club secretary Jenny Davis, who is also a Belmont councillor but was not in the room during the council decision, to Belmont chief executive John Christie in March, she stated it had been a “challenging road from October 2016 when the new Management Committee inherited $120,000 of debt plus over $50,000 of unpaid supplier bills”.
She stated in the letter the club was on the brink of insolvency due to “theft or fraud”, members funds had declined from $263,365 in 2013 to $16,616 in 2016 while the tax liability had grown to $70,000, all of which was reported to the police.
WA Police confirmed it received a complaint and inquiries were continuing.
The letter mentions an interest free loan that was made from former president Wayne Giles to the club for $30,000, half of which has been paid back, and asked the City to convert the council’s loan into a grant or defer the payment for a further 12 months due to “financial instability”.
As part of the City’s resolution, it will defer loan repayments until October 31, to be reviewed following receipt of the club’s annual financial report, which will be presented to council for consideration.
BSRC president Barry Rowe said the council’s decision to defer the payments was great news for the club.
“This follows a $30,000 grant from the City of Belmont for wages for the acting manager when the new committee took over and a further $50,000 grant which allowed the club to pay down an ATO debt inherited from the previous management committee,” he said.
“The deferral of loan repayments will allow the club to further consolidate its position and move on with projects such as the 100 bay car boot sale for which we have recently received planning approval to run on Sunday mornings.
“In addition, we have been advised this week we may be eligible for a $50,000 grant from the State Government including $25,000 for infrastructure for a potential farmers market at the BSRC.”
Mr Christie said the City had given the club grants amounting to $110,000 since November 2016.
“In addition to this, the City funded a review of the BSRC’s financial management processes and practices to assist in ensuring effective systems are in place at a cost of $14,190,” he said.