Home' South Gippsland Sentinel-Times : May 2, 2017 Edition Contents THE SOUTH GIPPSLAND SENTINEL-TIMES, TUESDAY, MAY 2, 2017 - PAGE 3
THEY might have been working on it for
the best part of six months but it only took
16 minutes last Wednesday for the Bass
Coast Shire Council to commend its annual
budget, and council plan 2017-21, to the
community for comment and submission.
And at least some of that time was taken
up with despatching to the waste paper bas-
ket, further attempts by Cr Les Larke to have
more money released for infrastructure de-
velopment and asset renewal by slashing the
He claims past councils were allowed to
neglect their responsibilities in this area
for too long and that the present council is
missing an opportunity for transformational
In fact, the Mayor Cr Pam Rothfield didn’t
even allow Cr Larke to move an amendment,
ruling it out of order as being virtually dia-
metrically opposed to the original motion,
that the budget be allowed to go out for pub-
It will go out for comment now, on a vote
“I don’t want to spend too much time look-
ing back, there’s little value in that but yes,
they didn’t perform well in those years, espe-
cially with asset renewal and infrastructure
development, ” Cr Rothfield said.
“That’s why I stood for council.
“But it’s not as hideous as he’s talking
about. The $31 million operating deficient
he is talking about isn’t a real figure. It in-
cludes depreciation of $63 million which
isn’t really money spent.
“But to try and describe it in everyday lan-
guage is almost impossible.
“I ’m not in any way pretending the last five
years were good, I’m not wanting to white-
wash the last five years but the $31 million
figure depends on how you look at it. ”
Cr Rothfield admitted council still had
its challenges but was now in “OK financial
shape, and getting better” after work done
in the past three years and in recent times
by the shire administration to cut costs and
redirect funds into improvements people
wanted to see.
It still hasn’t cut the workforce, however,
set to remain at 314.6 for the foreseeable
We have improved, CEO
Although he didn’t make a statement of ex-
planation about the budget on the day, shire
CEO Paul Buckley was happy to talk about
He dismissed any suggestion of an oper-
ating deficit over the past five years, saying
council was on course for an operating sur-
plus for the five years to June 30, 2017 of
almost $16 million.
“In the last three budgets, there has been
an effort to reduce our operating costs and
increase the amount going to capital renewal
or improvement from our own funds and
we’ve been able to do that,” Mr Buckley said.
“We’ve now got 13.14% of rate revenue, our
own money, going into capital improvement
where it was only 7.5%.
“In 2017-18, that figure will grow to 18%.
“It represents a major shift, with more to
do,” Mr Buckley said.
He claimed savings of $6 million had been
achieved in the past three years and pre-
dicted that a further $4 million would be
brought in over the next four years.
A case in point, he said, was the reduction
of 6.5 positions in management, saving the
“Our service reviews have delivered most
of those savings and are on-going. We do
about six of those-a -year.
“The challenge for Local Government is to
get ratepayers to understand the concept of
total cost of operations, outside staff costs
He said Bass had done the comparisons
with its neighbours and had come out sig-
nificantly cheaper per assessment.
So, considerably more funds have been
released by the shire this year for capital
works, including via borrowings of more
than $4.32 million next year, expanding the
loan debt to $16.755 million. The shire has
also released funds in order to go after grant
funding for such projects as the sports sta-
dium at the proposed Wonthaggi SC senior
However as pleasing as the turnaround
has been, it’s against the backdrop of tight
“We effectively get $12 million less in rates
than our neighbours, number one because
our rates are lower by $300 per assessment
on average, and because our non-resident
population isn’t counted, we get $3 million
less in Grants Commission allocation then
“We’ve had a significant turnaround in the
past three years to get to this point and we’ve
got the cost of doing business tied down as
He may be right.
While staff wages are expected to go up by
around $1 million-a -year for the foreseeable
future, the shire expects to grow the gap be-
tween income and expenditure by $2 million
over the next few years.
The proof will be in the amount of prom-
ised infrastructure and capital improvement
the shire delivers over the next 12 months
and beyond, not in a talkfest of self-congrat-
But, it’s certainly more encouraging to have
a good story to tell, and for a change, that’s
what the Bass Coast Council appears to have
with its latest budget... notwithstanding Cr
Larke’s claims about a $31 million deficit on
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Prom Coast Arts Council Inc presents
ArtTalk #4 featuring well-known local
artist & winner of the 2017 Great Southern
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Friday, May 12 at 7.30pm
Fish Creek Memorial Hall - supper room.
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Assistance received from
South Gippsland Shire Council KU1148
WONTHAGGI North resident
Tjitske Kool, nicknamed Kit, has
turned the big 100.
Born on April 27, 1917 in the
small village of Langeswaag,
Friesland in the Netherlands, she
is the second of five children.
But Kit realised early on that
farm life wasn’t for her.
In 1941, she moved southwest
to North Holland, where she met
Gerrit and four years later they
In 1956, the couple immigrated
to Australia with their son Gerry
and settled in the Dandenongs.
Many moves later and after the
passing of her husband in 1993,
and the arrival of grandchildren
and great grandchildren, she de -
cided to move to Wonthaggi in
At the time she would ride her
bicycle into town to do her shop-
ping. She's slowed down a little
Kit became involved with the se-
nior citizens where she played car-
pet bowls and made many friends.
She also became a member of
the Wonthaggi Workmen's Club,
which she still frequents most Fri-
It's also where she celebrated
her 100th birthday.
Her family and all those who
adore her wish Kit a big happy
RIGHT: Tjitske Kool cutting her
100th cake, surrounded by loved
ones at the Wonthaggi Workmen’s
Club last week.
Kit celebrates a century
Bass budget breezes
past in 16 minutes
Having attempted to introduce more fidu-
ciary control over the shire’s administration,
Cr Les Larke was at it again last Wednesday,
claiming council had so far missed an oppor-
tunity for transformative change. m101817
NYORA’S commercial prospects have been
supported with the adoption of Amendment
C110 at last week’s South Gippsland Shire
Amendment C110 implements the recom-
mendations of the Nyora Development Strat-
egy that affect the town centre area.
It will see the rezoning of properties to
Commercial 1 Zone (C1Z) to provide for
commercial expansion (specifically enough
space in the future for a supermarket) and
applies a Design and Development Overlay
(DDO) to maintain the valued characteristics
of the area as the commercial and civic cen-
The amendment will now be submitted to
Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne, for
Director Development Services, Bryan
Sword, said Amendment C110 was well sup-
ported by the Nyora community.
“Research shows that Nyora’s population
is steadily increasing and the rezoning of
this land allows for space for a supermarket
where there currently is none, ” he said.
“The new amendment also provides design
guidance to mitigate inappropriate develop-
ment in the town centre as the town grows. ”
Land in Nyora’s town centre that will be
affected by rezoning to Commercial 1 Zone
(C1Z) and Design and Development Overlay
(DDO) in Amendment C110.
Change of plans
good for Nyora
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