Australians are bracing themselves for a horror Federal budget next week.
South Australians living in regional areas now have another cost to consider.
It is rumored that the Federal Government is going to slash “supplementary local road funding” that help local government maintain its own roads.
The funding was introduced a decade ago to give SA councils a fairer share of Federal road money.
Before it was introduced in 2004 councils such as the Adelaide Hills campaigned long and hard about the inequity of the system.
As a geographically large council it has 1100km of roads to care for using rates from a small and dispersed population.
If the funding goes, councils such as Adelaide Hills and Mt Barker will lose about a third of their annual road funding budget, worth $250,000 to $360,000.
Making drastic cuts to road maintenance only leads to problems later on so ratepayers can probably expect to pay higher rates.
The savings made federally will only be shifted and will become costs paid locally.
While the outcome won’t be known until next week, perhaps this region can count itself lucky that the Liberals didn’t win power in SA and introduce its policy on freezing council rates.
If that policy was in place, the region would have to find hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of savings in areas such as libraries and sport.
Let’s move on
Tensions have been simmering in the Adelaide Hills Council over the past five months since Councillor Andrew Stratford was requested to make an apology for a public comment he made in September last year while passionately arguing against abolishing the ward system.
There are elected members who believe Cr Stratford made a heartfelt and considered point campaigning on behalf of his community and no apology is required and others who believe his comment about the process not being “best practice” presented the council in a poor light and that an apology was in order.
Either way the issue ended up with the Local Government Association Government Panel recommending an apology which was voted on and accepted by the majority of elected members.
The fact the matter remains unresolved five months after the apology was requested is now reflecting poorly on the council as a whole.
The issue is taking up time that should be spent on more important matters and needs to be finalised – regardless of whether councillors agree with the umpire’s decision.