Better Expenditure Priorities

At Healesville council spent $500,000 on refurbishing the toilet block in Green Street… I don’t believe this was the best use of such money when there are many other community priorities. Expenditure priorities need to be set by the community which takes us back to the issue of real, genuine consultation. The 2013 Council Plan process is the perfect starting place for this followed by the development of the 2013/2014 budget. Both should happen following extensive conversations with all communities that are listened to. Did we need to spend $7+ million on the Memo Hall redevelopment? Would some of it been better spent on roads, drainage or other critical areas?

The starting point has to be real consultation with communities about what is important. This means letting everyone express their views, not just the usual few and doing this regularly at public forums, online forums and any other way that works for our community. This has to happen not just by Councillors but more importantly by officers. Then the views have to be listened to.

Then there is the issue is the scoping and costing of these projects – do we need architecturally designed toilets and the costs associated with this? The same question for local halls… I certainly support having community assets that will stand the test of time but strongly argue the need for them to cost $7+ million regardless of where the funding came from. We want projects that are agreed community priorities and have an agreed budget.

And finally just better financial management of expenditure. Strong contract and project management where contracts clearly define performance, stop time and cost blow outs by coming up with ‘cost free’ solutions to deal with issues and good budget management rather than just approving overspends.

Council has allocated over $17 million for rebuilding the council offices in Lilydale… does anyone know what we’ll be getting for that?

Authorised by Bruce Argyle, 36 Old Fernshaw Road, Healesville 3777