A former Indigo shire mayor is upset with what he says is an exorbitant spending on cycling in the recent budget.
Bernard Gaffney was joined by fellow councillor Roberta Horne in taking issue with what they perceive as a lack of funding for footpaths in the shire's recent budget.
During this week's council meeting they pointed to the 31 submissions to the proposed budget which they say were effectively ignored.
"I certainly have concerns about the budget," Cr Gaffney said.
"There was $129,000 allocated for footpaths and $3.61 million for cycleways.
"I note that there were 31 submissions and I haven't counted them but I'd say 95 per cent of them were no change to budget, a lot of people say they've wasted their time.
"I suppose time will tell."
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Cr Gaffney described the budgeted amount for cycleways as "exorbitant" and took aim at the Beechworth to Yackandandah rail trail project.
In particular the $914,000 for road-cycle safety program that he says the infrastructure director told him would be largely directed towards that project.
"I've said before that this project is an absolute money pit and does this mean that we're going to spend another $900,000 on this project?" he said.
"It just seems like footpaths aren't seen as important safety measures but cycling on a rail trail is."
Cr Horne said that the council had developed "tunnel vision" when it comes to cycling-based tourism.
"I don't think that a lycra and latte led recovery is what our communities either need or want in such uncertain times," she said.
"In fact I think it will further polarise our communities.
"Now in the light of the huge COVID iceberg that is overshadowing every level of our lives, it is crucial that we reassess our plans through the lens of the prevailing conditions."
The Waghunyah Progress Association were one of the 31 parties to submit to the budget and they decried the lack of budgetary allocation to Traton Street in their community.
Group secretary Alan Pleitner said the issue had been raised every year since 2016 with no progress to date.
Another of the submissions, who's details were removed, also stated their opposition to the budgets allocation to footpaths.
"I am absolutely appalled that $129,000 only has been allocated in our shire for footpaths, which probably equates to 100m of finished product," they said.
"This is absolutely pathetic compared to allocating $3.61 million to create 'specialised high-end cycling experiences',
"You have all failed dismally."
Cr Larry Goldsworthy said this is "a really great budget for everyone".
Cr Sophie Price described the budget as "really strong".
The budget was passed with Cr Gaffney and Horne being the dissenting votes.
The Indigo shire's $16.5 million capital works program as been lauded by councillors Larry Goldsworthy and Sophie Price.
"It's exciting for the community and this if probably the largest capital works spend seen in this shire so far," Cr Goldsworthy said.
"For a 1.5 per cent increase in rates we're delivering a lot for the community and we absolutely should support it."
Cr Harris said she was pleased to see how much attention the budget had attracted within the shire.
"I'm pleased to see the level of interaction we've had given that council's budget probably isn't the thing at the front of people's minds at the moment," she said.
"I also hope that we're building confidence in the community that we have processes in place that mean the priorities that should be at or near the top are there."
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