Donald forum wants Buloke Shire Council investigated

Donald 2000 secretary Daryl Warren.

Donald 2000 secretary Daryl Warren.

A DONALD community forum wants to have Buloke Shire Council investigated.

Donald 2000 secretary Daryl Warren said the group’s members tabled the proposal at their meeting last week.

If the proposal is successful, Donald 2000 will ask the Minister of Local Government to inquiry into the governance, financial management and operation of Buloke Shire.

Members are also seeking a restructuring review, to decide the most appropriate way to deliver local government services across the shire.

Mr Warren said amalgamating with another council could be an option.

He said members would write to relevant politicians to ‘express grave concerns about the ability of Buloke Shire to operate as a sustainable business, given its current financial position and hence the ability of the ratepayers to sustain the continued poor governance and financial mismanagement overseen by council’.

The proposal will be put to a vote at Donald 2000’s meeting on August 20.

Mr Warren encouraged Donald residents to consider the idea and attend the meeting to have their say.

New council chief executive John Hicks said he was keen to speak with Donald 2000 about the proposal.

Buloke Shire Council increased rates by six per cent this financial year.

Kerbside garbage and recycling service charges increased to $380 a service.

Council has budgeted for a $7-million borrowing program this financial year, while seeking to slash expenditure by $1.3 million.

It foreshadows further cuts of more than $3 million a year. 

Asset renewal will consume more than half of council’s $7.78-million capital works program.

More than $6 million of that money will come from external grants.

Council is still suffering from the devastation of the 2010 and 2011 floods.

Mayor Reid Mather said in his budget preface more than $42 million had been spent on repairing the road network. Works were finished in June.

“Council’s emphasis now needs to be on securing long-term financial sustainability,” he said.

Council expects to finish the financial year with a surplus of $900,000.

Council’s cash position is budgeted to rise by more than $4 million because of the $7-million loan and reduction in capital spending.

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