Bud­get fact check

Coun­cil­lors speak out on bud­get con­tro­versy

The Western Star - - News - James Liveris [email protected]­ern­starnews.com

AMID the con­tro­versy sparked by mav­er­ick mayor Tyson Golder’s bud­get be­ing re­jected for the third year in a row, deputy mayor Jan Cham­bers urged res­i­dents to have a good look un­der the hood.

In the Spe­cial Bud­get Meet­ing in July this year, there were two bud­get pro­pos­als pre­sented to coun­cil, one pre­pared by the full coun­cil team in­clud­ing the mayor and the other pre­pared by only the mayor.

The mayor’s bud­get in­cluded per­sonal projects that would only be funded by a pro­posed 150 per cent rate in­crease ($11 mil­lion) to the oil and gas sec­tor.

Cr Cham­bers said the pub­lic needed to see past the politics sur­round­ing the coun­cil bud­get and have a good look at the facts.

“The re­al­ity is pure and sim­ple, both bud­gets had the same projects and cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture at their core,” she said.

“The mayor’s own pro­posed bud­get was es­sen­tially the same thing with a num­ber of per­sonal projects and dif­fer­ent cal­cu­la­tion for the rates, in­clud­ing a 150 per cent in­crease to one cat­e­gory and a 69 per cent re­duc­tion to com­mer­cial and in­dus­trial.

“Lo­cals con­tinue to raise con­cerns with me about the mayor’s pro­posal to use rate dol­lars on a spend­ing spree of pet projects.

“The ma­jor­ity of th­ese projects didn’t come from our as­set man­age­ment plans, master plan­ning or place­mak­ing plans and there have been many projects over the years that couldn’t be funded and there­fore th­ese projects would have been jumping the queue.”

Coun­cil­lor Cameron O’Neil said at the re­cent Busi­ness Breakfasts held across the Mara­noa, many ques­tions were raised about fi­nan­cial man­age­ment in re­gards to the com­par­i­son of both bud­gets that were pre­sented.

“It’s re­ally im­por­tant that the facts get­ting out there when it comes to the com­par­i­son, and at the end of the day the bud­get that has been adopted had in­put from all nine coun­cil­lors,” Cr O’Neil said.

“The feed­back that I have had back from com­mu­nity mem­bers is that it is a fi­nan­cially sound bud­get.”

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