Budget passes despite flaws

Budget passes despite flaws

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Source - Depositphotos.

Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale councillors passed the 2016-17 budget at a special council meeting this week despite concerns at least eight projects worth almost $500,000 had not been the subject of proper planning.

Councillor Michelle Rich said due diligence had not been done on eight items listed as ‘community projects’.

She moved the budget to be passed with those items ‘quarantined’ until an appropriate business plan had been completed.

This means the projects would still go ahead but funding could not be put towards them until the council was satisfied this had been done.

Acting chief executive Gary Clark said this could mean a slight delay but would assure councillors appropriate work had been done on the projects.

The items included $200,000 towards a skate park in Briggs Park as well as work done towards Serpentine Polocrosse, Hopeland Community Hall, a dog park in Byford and upgrades to the animal pound facility.

Ms Rich said while more work needed to be done on the budget it still had to be passed.

“I’m not 100 per cent happy with information provided to council but certain parts of the budget have to be passed to continue the operation of the shire,” she said.

Councillor Barry Urban refused to vote in favour of the budget as a whole because ‘too many things had been messed about’.

He said this included the community projects as well as the road assets management plan, which he said had been ‘butchered to balance the books’.

He also spoke against the five per cent rate increase.

“It’s not just hurting farmers…there are lots of younger families who are not well off and five per cent is huge for them,” he said.

The budget was passed with the amendment with eight councillors voting in favour and one against.

Roads were a major focus of this year’s budget with more than $6.7 million going towards the Abernethy Road upgrade and a further $382,000 towards resurfacing Abernethy between Soldiers Road and South Western Highway.

Resurfacing would also be completed on Lowlands, Rowley, Kargotich, Wright and Summerfield roads.

More than $12,000 would be spent on a children’s crossing at Serpentine Primary School.

The shire’s youth services program would receive more than $400,000 in funding and more than $1 million would be spent on planning projects throughout the shire.