Wattle Range councillors vote down extra spending in budget

Anovice councillor has failed in his bid to add an extra $10,000 to the annual Wattle Range Council 2022/23 budget.

Riddoch ward elected representative Chris Brodie moved a motion at the July monthly council meeting when the draft budget was presented for adoption.

According to Cr Brodie, the creation of an annual $10,000 Youth Leadership Sponsorship Program would support youth who are residing and working in the Wattle Range region,

He said the $10,000 would provide cover half the cost of undertaking personal and professional development to advance their careers.

In his address to the meeting Cr Brodie said such a youth leadership program had been advocated in the budget submission from the Riddoch Business and Community Association.

However, councillors said they were reluctant to change the draft budget at this late stage and suggested Cr Brodie’s funding bid could instead be considered at a quarterly budget review.

As a result, Cr Brodie decided to withdraw his motion.

After the budget was adopted, three councillors made brief remarks.

Cr Peter Dunnicliff praised Mr Duka and his staff for their work on the budget, Cr Dale Price stressed property valuations were set by the State Government and not council while Cr John Drew said council was obliged to collect the annual fees imposed by the Limestone Coast Landscape Board.

Speaking ahead of the budget adoption deliberations, Mayor Des Noll said the document focused on continuing the community’s COVID recovery, stimulating the local economy and developing strategies that capitalise on attracting residents and tourists to the council area.

Mayor Noll said the budget outlines the services, programs and strategic projects the council plans to deliver to the community over the year.

“In developing this $31m budget, as with all years, Wattle Range Council has had a finite amount of funds to deliver as many of the various projects requested as possible,” he said.

“It is a balancing act to deliver a budget that meets current and future community expectations, whilst limiting any rate increases and minimising the impact to ratepayers under the current circumstances.

“In consideration of this, it is proposed to increase council rates by current Consumer Price Index (CPI) 5.1%, with rate revenue also supplemented by growth from new rateable assessments of 0.26%.”

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