FORMER Wodonga mayor Rodney Wangman believes his city’s residents are being short-changed by the Victorian Government and he has urged the next council to fight for a better deal.
He wants the “next council to advocate (for) a better recurrent level of funding from the state government of Victoria”.
“The facts...are displayed pretty clearly in every financial report that this council has put together that we still have lesser recurrent funding than other regional cities,” Cr Wangman said.
“That should not occur, there is nothing lesser that someone who lives in Wodonga needs as to someone who lives in any of those other regional locations.”
Cr Wangman’s comments came during the tabling of Wodonga Council’s annual report at the last meeting of the council elected in 2012.
The city’s chief executive Patience Harrington introduced the report, noting a decrease in borrowings of $1.9m and no new loans.
“Administrative salaries in real terms have reduced by 16 per cent since 2007-08,” Ms Harrington said.
“Wodonga Council now has the same number of (full-time equivalent) staff as it did in 2003-04, despite being one of Victoria’s fastest growing regional cities and despite the ever-increasing demand for services.”
Mayor Anna Speedie said the city had a “hugely successful year” and pointed to “game-changers” such as the Logic rail terminal, Junction Place and work on Thomas Mitchell Drive and the Wodonga tennis centre.
She told of visiting more than 80 businesses and being struck by the amount of reinvestment and innovation.
In closing the meeting, Cr Speedie recognised departing councillors Mark Byatt and Eric Kerr, who have resigned, and Cr Wangman and Lisa Mahood, who attended the forum.
However, Cr Mahood left the 50-minute meeting 17 minutes before it ended for a flight and did not hear Cr Speedie praise her “astounding” 17 years of service.
“You have each brought to the table special gifts and skills and that has hugely benefited this community and future generations,” Cr Speedie said of the departing quartet.