Budget targets the wrong areas
Former Hindmarsh Shire councilor Wendy Robins claims there is $145,000 of savings in the budget, and roads should not be the target of cuts.
In her submission to council, by way of community feedback, Ms Robins brings into question increases in councillors allowances and increase in staff cost.
“If council provides 100 services (pg. 5, HSC Budget 2017/18) and can increase councillor and employee remuneration, why has the critical roads budget been the chosen area to be cut?, ” the letter states.
Ms Robins also brings into question, the increase in salaries at the caravan parks a from a budgeted $122,000 in the previous budget to $200,000 in the 2017/18 budget, with only a budgeted increase of $45,000 from actual s in 2016/17 budget.
The caravan parks are projected to lose $125,000 in the 2017/18 budget.
The Riverside Holiday Park Dimboola has budgeted to purchase hire bikes for $10,250. Ms Robins claims they need 40 hires a week to get a return on investment at the proposed $5.00 hire fee.
Ms Robins also says that the marketing investment falls well short of the $185,000 turnover of the Riverside Holiday Park.
“With a projected turnover of $185,000, a 10 percent budget for marketing would be the norm. Can the allocated budget of only $7,000 for advertising and marketing be enough to achieve these targets and why was this not fully acquitted in 2016/17 to maximise our investment? “
She also asks whether it would be better putting Dimboola, Jeparit and Rainbow caravan parks out to tender.
Ms Robins also questions $650,000 spent on tourism and economic development and the 35 percent spent on indoor salaries. She points out that there are only $20,000 in small business grants out of this budget and where are the key performance indicators for this money.
Hindmarsh Shires’ Karen program had been a success in the past, but currently there is no employment opportunities for new arrivals. Ms Robins want to know why the council is still investing in the program, without the infrastructure and jobs to sustain more Karen to come into the area.
Customer service centres are also questioned with the salaries of $331,737 and the council cannot find resources to follow up on customers enquiries.
“Many letters, emails, and phone calls to council continue to get no response,” she said.
The Dimboola Community Hub funding was unsuccessful from the federal government and Ms Robins asked how or if that money can be used for another project.
The letter concludes that the windfall of $80,00 from the Kiata Wind Farm had not been highlighted in the draft budget.