Council to hunt for extra funds

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
Bunbury City Council has selected its priority projects in a medley of councillor requests.
Camera IconBunbury City Council has selected its priority projects in a medley of councillor requests. Credit: Graphic / South Western Times

Bunbury City Council will need to find more than $250,000 extra cash come budget time if it has any chance of completing its list of hand-picked projects.

The council on Tuesday night spent more than 1.5 hours deliberating over 28 councillor requests to be considered in its long-term financial plan.

While the council was recommended to support or partially support 10 of the requests worth $332,256 in its next budget, it instead endorsed an extra five projects.

The South Western Times has calculated the additional projects are worth $352,000 with the major difference coming from an extra $260,000 to add another 1km of paths.

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The council also appears to be bowing to growing public pressure for a new skatepark after going against an executive recommendation to defer a $1 million project and instead allocating $50,000 to investigate options.

An extra $30,000 to increase the amount spent on installing shade sails in public open spaces was also supported in the additional projects.

The recommended projects were to be funded from the council’s 2018-19 estimated closing surplus of $429,243, but with a new price tag of $684,256 the council will need to come up with another $255,013.

The projects still need to be locked in when the council adopts its 2018-19 Budget in July.

Mayor Gary Brennan said he was not concerned with the higher amount “at this stage” and he had confidence in the council and staff to bring the costs down.

“They’re all recommendations, so we’ll go through those to make sure in July we bring down a balanced budget without it being a substantial increase in rates to our community,” Mr Brennan said. “I’m confident our council and the officers will reduce that figure.”

The requests supported include:

  • An increase in expenditure for the Anzac Day Working Group from $4579 to $20,000 in 2018-19.
  • YouthCare Program with $12,000 per year from 2018-19 as part of a five-year Memorandum Of Understanding to be established.
  • Membership in the Bunbury Geographe Steering Group Alliance worth $25,000 a year.
  • A community consultation program to identify needs for additional playground equipment in Glen Iris during 2018-19. (No cash allocation identified.)
  • Annual membership discounts for seniors at South West Sports Centre worth $34,835.
  • Contribution of $15,000 for the replacement of cricket nets at Forrest Park.
  • A $15,000 contribution to both the Clontarf Foundation and Girls Academy.
  • A $50,000 contribution to the Bunbury Meals on Wheels and Senior Citizens Centre, subject to receiving a business plan.
  • A Community Works Program worth $50,000.
  • An allocation of $100,000 a year to upgrade facilities to meet the objective of becoming the Most Accessible Regional City in Australia (MARCIA).
  • Investigation into skatepark options worth $50,000.
  • An extra $260,000 for another 1km of path networks, taking the total yearly expansion to 2km.
  • An increase in expenditure to install shade sails in public open space in 2018-19 from $50,000 to $80,000.
  • An increased contribution to the Bunbury City Band from $8000 to $10,000.
  • An increase in expenditure for the purchase of artworks for the City Arts Collection from $15,000 to $25,000.

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