Chambers votes no for Indigo budget

THE Indigo Shire budget has been passed, but not without concerns from one councillor.

The 2014-15 budget will see rates rise by an average of 5.7 per cent.

The municipal charge was set at $280.20, the domestic garbage charge at $178.35, recycling charge at $75.15 and the waste management charge at $65.30.

Don Chambers was the only councillor to vote against the budget with concerns over the rate rise.

“In my view, (it) will make it extremely difficult for many of our citizens to thrive due to their fixed incomes, pensions and other imposts from state and federal governments,” he said.

“They will certainly have to be resilient in finding ways to stretch their already tight financial situation, with this council adding a rate increase twice that of inflation.”

Cr Chambers acknowledged the council needed to be financially sustainable.

“But this should not be done on the backs of our people,” he said.

“We in council must look for better ways to curtail our costs and form more partnerships with other councils.”

Cr Chambers described staff wage increases as “generous”.

The council agenda notes the budget as underpinning the future of council for the next financial year.

“The budget shows that council is in a strong financial position, however recent changes to the operating grants will require additional work in the near future to address the medium to long term financial projections,” it states.

Council chief executive Gerry Smith recently said he was concerned by the impact of federal changes, which would cost the shire $1.7 million.

Councillor Barbara Murdoch praised the work of councillors and staff for working on the budget, which Councillor James Trenery said had been “looked at very carefully”.

Councillor Jenny O’Connor was an apology at the meeting.