Budget fact check
Councillors speak out on budget controversy
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.”