WEST Wimmera Shire Mayor Bruce Meyer has warned councillors against delaying inevitable changes to council’s budget.
Council lost $100,385 in Federal Government funding in September after an overpayment by the Victorian Grants Commission.
At a council meeting on Thursday night, finance manager Ashley Roberts outlined where budget reductions could be made.
His report showed a reduction of $50,000 for shoulder resheeting, $37,500 from fleet replacement and a gain of $20,000 in interest.
Cr Ron Hawkins said he was not happy with the proposed savings.
“We have such a widespread budget,” he said.
“Why are the savings suggested not more widespread?”
He suggested the savings be addressed when council reviewed the budget at the end of the year.
“My reason for contesting this issue is that we made a big thing of shoulder resheeting problems when deciding the budget,” he said.
“We made a big effort to put that money in the budget and it would be a horrendous result if we adopt the proposal.”
Cr Meyer said waiting until the budget review was delaying the inevitable.
“We have budgeted for $100,000 that we are not receiving,” he said.
“It goes against my grain to spend money we don’t have.
“It wasn’t our mistake but the mistake has been made and our books have to balance – we can’t ignore it.
“Extra shoulder resheeting was put in the budget because we thought we were getting the extra money and we didn’t.
“There is no point waiting until the end of the year.”
Cr Meyer said it was a really poor effort by the Federal Government that the overpayment had happened two years in a row, but it was the reality.
Cr Annette Jones said if council accepted the overpayment it would send the wrong message to the Federal Government.
“The reason why we are having this discussion is because the Federal Government got it wrong,” she said.
“We are just accepting that without a blink of an eye, which gives the perception that we don’t need the money.”
Council will wait until the budget review to decide the savings.
Cr Meyer and Cr Jones voted against waiting.