Test of financial health

The financial state of a community arts group has come into question.
The financial state of a community arts group has come into question.

Last week’s council meeting was closed to the public to discuss the issue after Cr Wesley Davies claimed MosArts owed the council $25,000 and said the community deserved ‘reassurance’ about the group’s financial health and what was spent on its Memorial Hall, Lochee Street home.

Council financial backing of MosArts, which is chaired by former councillor Libby Eustance who is overseas, and supported by Mayor Ron Norris, has attracted concern from Cr Davies, Cr Zenda Johnson and Cr Ian Flack for several months.

In August, the criticism partially led to Cr Johnson’s successful move for an investigation into how to manage councillors having links or heading community groups that get council funds.

Before last week’s meeting was closed, Perth Theatre Company board member and chartered accountant Michael Atkins said he had reviewed MosArts’ current and future financial status in July, at the request of MosArt leadership, and had made recommendations.

‘There were a few threshold issues to deal with and I have been working with the board who have been most accommodating since then to assist in dealing with those threshold issues,’ Mr Atkins said.

Later, he said he understood the $25,000 could be owed to the council but commercial confidentiality meant he would not comment further, other than saying residents and councillors should know that professionals were dealing with MosArt’s ‘matters’.

Councillors agreed to Cr Davies’ request that chief executive Kevin Poynton report on MosArt’s finances and stability at the November meeting.