Horsham Rural City Council meeting Mail-Times blog for April 18, 2017: 2017/18 draft budget

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7.28pm 

Meeting closed. That’s all for tonight. Thanks for your company.

7.27pm

Indoor sports stadium stage two planning

Cr Pam Clarke has left the chamber owing to a conflict of interest in the matter.

Cr Robinson said he was happy to move the motion but pointed to the prior motion to consider existing facilities and the best use of ratepayers’ money.

“I have had a number of people in the community express concern that we are going full steam ahead towards a new facility,”

Cr Robinson said he wanted a robust examination of options not a ‘tick and flick’ job.

Cr Power said he had been in Horsham for 40 years and the basketball had been there all that time.

“This has got my full support,” he said.

Cr Grimble said he had a lot of phone calls on the lack of community input in the selection of shortlisted sites.

Cr Grimble said the lot of funding had gone into school facilities instead of facilities that would be available to the public all the time.

Cr Radford said it was important to hear from the whole community as a lot of respondents so far had been from older demographics.

Cr Radford pointed to the fact that money had been put in the draft budget for further planning. 

Motion carried unanimously.

7.01pm

SEASONAL CONDITIONS PROJECT

Cr Radford said farmers and local government can’t make it rain but they can do something. Cr Radford acknowledged the support of the state government.

“I’m sure a lot of families benefited from these actions in the last couple of seasons.”

Cr Grimble said it had always been the saying that there’s more money in mud than dust but there was such a thing as a ‘green drought’.

“We have seen a lot of people struggle with low commodity prices. The price of barley has been below production costs in some cases,” he said.

Cr Clarke said it was important to have the project to support farmers’ mental health in the tough times.    

6.57PM

WIMMERA DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION MEMBERSHIP

Cr Grimble said the group was well-respected by multiple levels of government and had helped in the intermodal freight hub and weather radar.

Cr Grimble said it was important to note that council’s three-year commitment was contingent on other parties’ support.

Cr Koenig said he had sat on the board and seen how many projects were on the go.

“This has my full support,” he said.

Cr Clarke said a lot of people at the council meeting had been through the association’s leadership course and the association attended the recent delegation to Canberra.   

6.41pm

Community Grants

Cr Radford has left the chamber because of a potential conflict of interest due to his involvement in the Salvation Army.

Cr Grimble has also left due to a conflict of interest as the former captain of a fire brigade to receive a grant.

Corporate Services director Graeme Harrison and community services director Kevin O’Brien also declared conflicts.

Cr Clarke said giving community grants was the best thing that council did.

6.40pm 

RATES STRATEGY

Cr Robinson said the community would welcome councillors’ decision not to seek an extra one per cent rate rise.

“There’s no guarantee that council wont seek an exemption to the rates rise cap next year,” he said.

Crs Robinson and Sedgman congratulated corporate services director Graeme Harrison and his team for finding savings equivalent to a one per cent rates rise.

Cr Grimble said Horsham council needed to recognise the restrictions of yearly income from broadacre farming when collecting rates.

Cr Grimble said a lot of farming communities were still recovering from past bad seasons but land values were still increasing.

“I had a phone call from one farmer who said the rates rises were unsustainable and he wouldn’t be farming in five years because of the rates,” Cr Grimble said.

Cr Radford said Horsham council couldn’t influence property values but it could use differential rates to ease the burden on farmers during bad years.

Cr Clarke said a lot of work had gone into this and other budget documents.

“If you don’t look at the document and comment, then don’t complain,” she said.

“We can’t change things if we don’t hear about it .” 

6.25pm

DRAFT BUDGET

Cr David Grimble said it was a sound document and it was an opportunity for the community to have their say.

Cr Radford said the draft budget represented months of work and there were some good flagship projects. 

Cr Radford said it wasn’t glamorous but he welcomed the proposal for $1 million towards the waste transfer station.

“There is money for bike tracks and it’s great that council will continue to encourage people to make the most of our flat landscape.”

Cr Radford said off-leash dog areas were important to people and it was good to see Horsham council consider moving its depot out of the city area in line with other local governments.

Cr Radford said the depot’s prime real estate would be easily sold. 

Cr Clarke said the council had allocated more time that required for community members to have their say on the draft budget. 

6.23pm

10.2.1 DRAFT COUNCIL PLAN – 2017-2021 

Cr Sedgman said she welcomed the goals around environmental sustainability.

C Koenig thanked staff for their work on the document and said the variety of ideas reflected the diversity in council.

6.18pm

10.1.1 ADOPTION OF THE GRAMPIANS AND BARWON SOUTH WEST REGIONAL PASSENGER SERVICES COST AND FEASIBILITY STUDY

Cr David Grimble said it was an important report for all kinds of transport and the community should respond well to the findings.

Cr Mark Radford said a motion was passed in 2013 for a return of passenger rail.

Cr Radford pointed to the report’s conclusions.

“We want passenger rail to return to Horsham and now we have the proof.” 

Cr Pam Clarke said the Horsham and Hamilton rail catchment area had more than 100,000 people.

“That’s a lot of people who want to go to the doctor or visit friends. As people get older it gets harder to drive to Melbourne,” she said.

“This is a fantastic document.

“People say that $367 million is a lot of money but the minister said it wasn’t.”

Cr Clarke said federal infrastructure minister Darren Chester was trying to get projects like these in the budget.

Cr Les Power said the report showed that passenger rail could bring more Melbourne people into the Wimmera as well as help Wimmera people get to Melbourne.

Cr Sedgman said her cousin visited Horsham via bus and wondered why more people didn’t come out.   

6.08pm

Pam Clarke congratulated the Hospital Womens Auxiliary for their $87,000 donation to the Wimmera Base Hospital.

“The op shop turns over $6000 per month of profit. Most things are a dollar so you can imagine how many sales that is. These women work so hard,” she said. 

6.04pm

Cr Josh Koenig said it was unbelievable to see how many people were at Nitro Circus.

“What a show. I’m not much of a motorbike guy but I had a great time,” he said.

6.02pm

Cr John Robinson said he wanted Horsham council to have a formal economic plan since running for election and he was glad to see it implemented.

He said Dock Lake users were not being kept up to date.

Cr Robinson said the CFA was looking to replace the loss of mountain rescue skills that have been lost from SES.

Cr Robinson said concerns continue to be raised with him about the Horsham bypass. He wants to lay an additional motion on the table on alternatives to option D. Mayor Pam Clarke said it should be brought up in the debate section of the meeting two weeks from now.

“I’d prefer you not do it tonight during our reports section,” she said.

As part of a compromise, Cr Robinson has read out his proposed motion.

Cr Robinson wants councillors to receive a presentation of additional bypass options at the next planning meeting and that council determine a preferred option on May 1.

5.54pm

Cr Les Power has noted the increasing audience numbers at a liaison session with the Aboriginal community and the work of Goolum Goolum and Wimmera Uniting Care in running events for

Cr David Grimble said there were plenty of visitors in the Wimmera over Easter and there must have been a significant economic boost from the Nitro Circus motorbike stunt show at Horsham City Oval.

Cr Sedgman said volunteers gave up their time on Good Friday to attend a rock climbing rescue at Mt Arapiles. She said she was shocked to hear that emergency services had to be brought in from Warrnambool because the Arapiles group had been disbanded.   

5.48pm

Welcome to out live blog of the Horsham Rural City Council meeting for April 18, 2017. 

The big item is, of course, the draft budget. Read the Mail-Times quick breakdown of the proposed spending and rates rise.

On the agenda tonight: 

8.3.1 Inward correspondence: SENATOR THE HON SIMON BIRMINGHAM, MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING, SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Re: Future funding for preschool.

10.1.1 ADOPTION OF THE GRAMPIANS AND BARWON SOUTH WEST REGIONAL PASSENGER SERVICES COST AND FEASIBILITY STUDY

This report seeks Council adoption of the completed Grampians and Barwon South West Regional Passenger Services Costs and Feasibility Study.

10.2.1 DRAFT COUNCIL PLAN – 2017-2021

To present the 2017-2021 Draft Council Plan for community comments and submissions.  

10.2.2 DRAFT BUDGET 2017/18

To present the 2017/18 Draft Budget and related Strategic Resource Plan to 2020/21 for Council approval and public exhibition purposes in accordance with the Local Government Act 1989 Section 129 (3)(b) and (c) for a period of 28 days.

10.2.3 DRAFT RATES STRATEGY 2017-18

To present the 2017-18 Draft Rates Strategy, for Council approval and public exhibition purposes.

10.2.4 COMMUNITY GRANTS 2017/18

To present for adoption Council’s proposed Community Grants for 2017-18 which will be included in the forthcoming draft budget.

10.2.5 GOVERNANCE ARRANGEMENTS – GREEN LAKE COMMITTEE OF MANAGEMENT

To alter the governance arrangements for the Special Committee of Council, the Green Lake Committee of Management, to revoke the committee’s current section 86 Instrument of Delegation, establish an Advisory Committee and establish a formal agreement with Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water (GWM Water) for the ongoing involvement of Council in this Crown land reserve.

10.2.6 AUDIT COMMITTEE MEETING AND AUDIT COMMITTEE CHARTER ANNUAL REVIEW

To report outcomes of the Audit Committee meeting of 23 March 2017, and to table the Audit Committee Charter and Annual Plan 2017.

10.3.1 DEVELOPMENT PLAN – 628 THREE BRIDGES ROAD, LOWER NORTON

To seek Council approval for the Development Plan for 628 Three Bridges Road, Lower Norton.

10.3.2 CAMPING AT THE HORSHAM SHOWGROUNDS

To provide Council with information relating to the recently approved planning permit for the use of the Horsham Showgrounds for camping in association with showground events.

10.3.3 TOURISM ADVISORY COMMITTEE

To inform Council of the appointment of two community representatives to the Tourism Advisory Committee, for the term of 15 months from April 2017 to June 2018.

10.3.4 WIMMERA DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION MEMBERSHIP

To endorse a three year funding agreement between Council and the Wimmera Development Association.

10.4.1 SEASONAL CONDITIONS PROJECT

To provide information to Council and the community on the outcomes of the Seasonal Conditions Project which concluded on 31 March 2017.

10.5 DIRECTOR OF TECHNICAL SERVICES 10.5.1 INDOOR SPORTS STADIUM – PHASE 2

To provide an update to Council on progress with the second phase of the Indoor Sports Stadium planning.

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