Council at odds over proposed saleyards upgrade

7th August 2017 4:40 PM
COUNCIL VISION: Maranoa Councillor Peter Flynn at the Roma saleyards. COUNCIL VISION: Maranoa Councillor Peter Flynn at the Roma saleyards. Sarah Dionysius

DEBATE over the recently adopted Maranoa Regional Council budget continues with the proposed Roma saleyards' multi-purpose facility in the cross-hairs.

Saleyards portfolio chair Peter Flynn addressed comments made by Mayor Tyson Golder in his budget speech.

"I respect the right of each councillor to have their own opinions and their say during budget deliberations.

"I also respect the right of the mayor to prepare a budget to present to council and the right of all councillors to vote for that budget with or without amendments,” he said.

"However, there is a point of comment in the mayor's budget speech that I believe needs some correction.

"There is reference to council's expected spend for the Roma saleyards' multi-purpose facility.

"I would like to point out that in neither the adopted council budget nor the mayor's prepared budget, was there reference to any amount of money being set aside for the building of the proposed multi-purpose facility.”

"Council was recently successful in receiving a 50% grant from the State Government towards the estimated $7.397 million project.

"Other funding options will continue to be pursued to minimise the costs of a new facility for ratepayers and saleyard users,” Cr Flynn said.

"The mayor has voiced his opposition to the project ... however, again, it was a council decision to pursue this project.”

Both the mayor and Cr Geoff McMullen voted against the proposed facility in various council meetings.

Cr Golder said in last week's budget meeting his proposed rates freeze and reduction was equal to 39% of what the council expected to spend on the multi- purpose facility if further government grants were approved.

"Council is hoping three-quarters of the $7.397m project will be covered by grants, with council covering the remaining 25%,” he said.

Cr Golder said the money saved by ratepayers in his rate freeze budget would have equated to 39% of council spending on the proposed facility.

"I attended the first budget rates workshop that was held, however it was said the rate freeze was unaffordable so I advised councillors that, as part of my responsibility as mayor, I would be preparing the budget to hand down to council,” Cr Golder said.

"I'm not criticising the multi-purpose facility, I'm just focusing on what's affordable and that's the rates freeze and reduction,” he said.

According to Cr Golder's calculations, which were advised to him by council officials, 39% of the council's expected spending on the multi-purpose facility would equal $721,207.

"As a council, it's important that we discuss and debate these kinds of matters, that's the great thing about democracy,” he said.

BREAKDOWN

- Proposed multi-purpose facility: $7.397 million

- Grant funding aim (75%): $5.547 million

- Council's expected contribution: $1.849 million

- 39% of council's contribution: $721,207