Ranges budget faces criticism

Macedon Ranges council will consider adoption of its budget on June 28 (Damjan Janevski). 322848_01

Zoe Moffatt

Macedon Ranges residents have responded to council’s draft budget, with some pleading for more money for their organisations, while Romsey residents say the budget fails to address their town’s needs.

At its meeting on May 31, councillors heard from 13 residents in regards to the draft budget. A further 41 written submissions have also been lodged with council.

Serveral community groups and sporting clubs requested funding, including the Macedon Tennis Club which wants money to complete a fencing project.

Club president Liz O’Connell spoke at the meeting and said the club needs $110,000 to fix dangerous fencing.

“[The club] is not proud of our dilapidated and lets be honest, downright dangerous fences,” Ms O’Connell said.

“The fences at our clay courts… were erected in 1970… they have well and truly passed middle age and they are at the end of their life.

“They are rusted, coming undone… and fence wire sticks out everywhere including at ground and eye level… we had a dangerous incident involving a child slipping and piercing their eye.”

Ms O’Connell said the club has saved $20,000 and sourced a $20,000 grant from Bendigo Bank for the project which must be used this year.

“We would like $110,000 this financial year [for the project],” she said.

Other groups, including New Gisborne Tennis Club, Kyneton Obedience Dog Club and Malmsbury Historical Society, also provided submissions.

Romsey residents addressed council’s budget allocation for the town in written and verbal submissions, with one resident attending the meeting to speak about the town’s concerns.

“I am here tonight as a long term resident of Romsey and a community volunteer for Better Futures Romsey,” the resident said.

“This budget lacks investment in [Romsey], it lacks cohesion between shire departments… [and] it fails to address the existing and future needs of our rapidly growing community.”

The resident said there is a lack of action around vacant and commercial land holdings, the town’s “inferior” infrastructure, and investment in bridge and road upgrades.

“In closing they say parents don’t have favourite children, but if the towns of Macedon Ranges shire council were children, I would argue that the shire places Romsey at the bottom,” they said.

Council will vote on the budget on June 28.