LABOR CALL FOR URGENT REVIEW — COUNCIL BUDGET
A full review of the 2021-22 Eurobodalla Shire Council’s (ESC) $125 million Budget would be undertaken as a priority under a Labor mayor and/or councillors following the 4 December elections according to Eurbodalla Labor for Council’s mayoral candidate David Grace.
“The council’s Budget is an urgent issue which needs to be addressed by the incoming elected representatives,” Mr Grace said today. “We believe it should always live within its means and not engage in wasteful and extravagant expenditure.
“The community needs assurances we will no longer tolerate Budget deficits as routine administration; the delivery program and operational plan are unsatisfactory as they lack sufficient information for informed decisions.
“There is no comparative financial data or justifications, and the documents available to the public are absent the openness, accuracy and transparency required of good governance.
“We will seek to review the program and plan at the earliest opportunity so that it meets the standards both we and the community expect from the council,” Mr Grace added.
When newly elected councillors and the mayor first meet after the election outcome, the 2021-2022 financial year will be more than half over.
“As a high priority, we will therefore commission council staff to prepare for the next Budget by developing a detailed submission providing financial and explanatory information for the 2022-23 Budget,” Mr Grace said.
“This will include data on revenue and expenditure in future years, and would be released to the community to enable informed and meaningful consultation.
“It will provide the comparative financial data and detailed justifications on Budget proposals.
“We are simply not in a position to run Budget deficits.
“We would then convene a specific Budget meeting of council to consider this submission together with all Budget proposals from the community.
“The process would include a public forum which would be webcast so all ratepayers could have input.
“The objectives of these processes are to ensure the community and councillors are fully informed about the Budget and can be confident it is not only affordable but also meets community expectations.
“The shire’s residents have a right to expect these outcomes from council processes,” he added.
As for the $69 million Batemans Bay Pavilions, Eurobodalla Labor for Council has maintained its reservations about the facility, including ongoing costs covering maintenance and staffing.
“”If we are elected, we will call for a review of the Bay Pavilions’ plans, including a review of any contracts already signed,” Mr Grace added.
The Labor candidates in addition to David Grace are Maureen Searson, Matthew Findlay, Claire McAsh, Deirdre Russack and Jack Egan.