HILL-Don_cmykAt South Gippsland Council meeting last week, I read a report into the minutes.
The report detailed my thoughts on how higher rates revenue is raised due to unrequired expenditure being placed into the forward 15 year budget projections.
I did this because I have tried on two occasions to have a motion voted through at council whereby council received the report so as to use it in the annual budget deliberations.
On both those occasions, councillors chose to not receive the report.
The reasons why they would vote that way is not easy for me to understand.
This council has begun the process of making informed evidence based decisions, yet this information so provided was not even accepted.
The mayor complained last Wednesday that we had the debate months ago and that I should not be putting the report forward.
There seems to be some misunderstanding here.
Firstly, council never had the debate on the information in the report since the report was never accepted by those four or five councillors and secondly, although the 2013-2014 budget debate had been done and completed in June 2014, the next budget (2014-2015) which council is currently working through has not been done, and since I believe this information to be relevant to the current budget cycle, I will continue to put forward my views on how we can reduce the rates burden going forward especially when a significant amount of rates money is not detailed to be spent on anything in particular and is I believe, surplus to requirements.
A further $20million has been identified as not being required in the 15 year budget bringing the total of such funds to $54million; $12million from reducing the CPI going forward to a more realistic level, and $8million for some infrastructure that has been identified as not being required within the 15 year plan.
With continued work on this year’s budget I believe that even more funds can be identified as not being required in the 15 year plan.
As such, I will be moving a Notice of Motion in October, which if successful, will require council to identify all items within the 15 year budget that have not previously been approved of by council through a transparent evidence based process.
I anticipate that many, many, more millions will be identified and council will then be left with making a decision on what to do with all those monies if those expenditure items were to not be put back into the 15 year budget.
My view is that most should be returned to ratepayers by way of lower rates whilst allowing for some new initiatives to be funded and that all new initiatives should only be included in the budget if they satisfy council’s own financial strategies. What is your view?
Cr Don Hill, Tarwin Valley Ward