WANGARATTA Council has laboured through 19 requests to engage consultants for fees ranging from $500 to $150,000.
The requests were considered by the council for the first time this week following a decision last month to remove the power of the council executive to engage consultants except in emergencies.
But already the policy is being tested.
Cr Paul O’Brien wants to know what criteria the executive was using before employing a consultant.
“We would look at that and then discuss among ourselves as councillors the criteria we want to see,” he said.
Most of the consultants requests were granted by the council this week, but two significant items were rejected — a consultant to design and provide a cost estimate of the Wangaratta saleyards upgrade and a consultant to provide advice on irrigation layouts for King George Gardens.
Both were defeated on the casting vote of mayor Rozi Parisotto as was the decision last month to remove the power of the executive to appoint consultants.
Almost $2.5 million has been spent on consultants in the past three financial years with the most being $1 million in 2011-12.
The figure has more than doubled since 2009-10 but 47 per cent has been covered by grants.
The main item of expenditure has been flood repair works totalling $663,189 to carry out $9.5 million worth of works.