A town that gets peanuts

MOIRA Council has come under fire from Yarrawonga residents about a miserly slice of its capital works budget in 2014-15.

Capital works spending in the shire has been cut 10 per cent next financial year with roughly only $300,000 earmarked for projects in Yarrawonga which generates $18 million of the council’s annual take of $31 million in rates and charges.

Mayor Peter Mansfield fronted two budget sessions in his hometown last Friday and conceded the council had dealt locals a rough deal.

“Other parts of the shire seem to be reasonably content,” he said yesterday.

“But they felt it was an imbalance compared to other areas considering Yarrawonga and district seem to be the main revenue earner for the shire (for rates).

“All councillors would like to see an even balance of capital works carried out over the entire shire.

“But the general perception is they have got a rough end of the deal.

“It is still in draft form and not set in stone at the moment and there is room to move.”

Cr Mansfield was joined at the sessions by other councillors including Don McPhee and Brian Keenan and new chief executive officer Mark Henderson.

The mayor played down suggestions the council representatives encountered a “hostile” reception with Yarrawonga residents facing a 9.5 per cent rise in combined rates and charges, including a compulsory $90 fee for the introduction of a green waste service to their homes.

“I didn’t think it was hostile at all,” Cr Mansfield said.

“I thought it was a good, frank and open discussion.”

The biggest capital works budget item was $1.2 million for street works in Cobram.

One of the few “new” initiatives in Yarrawonga was $15,000 for an “investigation of options” for a walking track on Hogan’s Road.

And $100,000 has been set aside for upgrades at the Yarrawonga Airport, though that’s contingent on securing $400,000 externally.

“It is causing a constant drain on council finances due to Civil Aviation Security authority requirements to keep it up to scratch,” Cr Mansfield said.

“The council is not seeing a great return on the money being poured into the airport.”

Cr Mansfield said councillors would consider all submissions before adopting the budget next month.