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Councillor Column – 30 May 2023 – Councillor Brian Ingram

Jun 2, 2023

For Immediate Release 30 May 2023
Authorised by Councillor Brian Ingram

It is budget time and I am sure that most sole traders and small businesses have been reflecting on their finances for 2022/23 and planning for 2023/24. I am just as sure that larger companies have had their Directors working on the 2023/24 budget for the last couple of months.

Hilltops Council staff provided Council’s budget papers to Councillors on Friday afternoon (26 May 2023) with an extraordinary meeting to be held Monday 29 May 2023 to vote on putting the proposed budget out to the community for comment.

To say some Councillors were very disappointed with the timing of the papers is probably an understatement. Councillors were given no time to digest what is a very important, congested report, let alone have any input into where the ratepayer’s money will be spent.

Councillor Armstrong, Flanery and I moved a few amendments to be included in the recommendation put up by staff and with more time to review ‘staff’s’ proposed budget there may be more.

I have mentioned before that Hilltops Council is not sustainable and if you, the public, go to page 122 of the Budget Report and take note of the projected Operating Deficits in the Long Term Financial Plan for the General Fund, I believe you will concur.

I also believe that whilever our leader continues to say everything is ‘fine’ we will only slip further into larger deficits. The most efficient way of solving the problem is by firstly admitting you have one.

It has been mentioned that as a Hilltops Councillor I appear to focus on the former Young Shire area. I do that for very good reasons, one is 99.5% of my votes come from there.

Secondly, is that repeatedly when funding is to be distributed amongst the three former Council areas the former Young Shire area (who has 60% of the population and contributes 58% of the rate revenue) does very poorly.

A quick example (and there are more) is where recently Council was to allocate $200,000 from revenue for reseals to the road network in Hilltops. The majority of Councillors voted for the following allocations:

  • Boorowa to receive 40% or $80,000 (contribute 16% of revenue)
  • Harden to receive 40% or $80,000 (contribute 26% of revenue)
  • Young to receive 20% or $40,000 (contribute 58% of revenue)

If any other ratepayer in the former Young Shire is as concerned with this and other funding allocations, and the need for an approximately 70% increase in your rates to just balance the books, you need to contact the Councillors you voted for and seek explanations!

Brian Ingram

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