Council in a rush to adopt annual budget, Port Phillip residents say

By Becky Maschke

As the City of Port Phillip gets ready to roll out its annual budget on June 21, a community group has questioned if the councillors gave themselves enough time to consider the public’s submissions to the drafts.

This is the first time the council’s annual budget will be integrated with a ten-year plan for Port Phillip.

Drafts for both were shared with residents on April 19. Public submissions were received during a 28-day statutory review period.

The submissions were reviewed by council officers who briefed the councillors before the last ordinary meeting on June 7, a fortnight before formal adoption.

Members of the Community Alliance of Port Phillip (CAPP), questioned the necessity of a two-week turnaround for the final budget.

CAPP secretary Leslie Rosenblatt spoke to St Kilda News of the group’s concerns.

“They’re trying to do establish a four-year plan and a ten-year plan, and to try and do all that in a fortnight is putting a lot of pressure on the councillors as well as on the officers,” Mr Rosenblatt said.

There were more than 117 submissions and 8 late submissions from Port Phillip individuals and community groups.

The local Government Act 1989 requires councils to prepare and approve a four-year Council Plan by the June 30 in the year after an election.

This year, Local Government Minister Natalie Hutchins extended this deadline to August 31.

The council chose to not use the extended deadline.

“In the context of the state government’s revision of the Local Government Act and the reasons for that revision, it seems peculiar that they painted themselves into such a tight corner,” Mr Rosenblatt said.

Meanwhile, Port Phillip mayor Bernadene Voss is confident the council can address submissions from the public in the short time frame.

“Out of the 229 points raised in the submissions, 70 per cent of them are already covered in the Council Plan,” Cr Voss said.

She said the councillors will continue to work on the submissions right up to budget day.

When asked why the Port Phillip council did not make full use of the extended deadline, Cr Voss said they opted to ‘continue working to normal financial year timeframe’ to ensure the rates declaration process was not hindered.

The integrated Council Plan is a first for Port Phillip and will include planning for: municipal public health and well being plan, strategy for resource planning, ten-year financial outlook, and the council budget.

The council will present the 2017-18 budget and the 2017-27 council plan tomorrow at 6:30pm at St Kilda Town Hall.










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