Shire of Capel holds special meeting to discuss 2019/2020 annual draft budget

The Shire of Capel council has continued its discussions over the upcoming 2019/2020 draft budget.

Community members from all over the district visited the shire's headquarters for a special meeting on Monday, June 17.

Shire chief executive officer Ian McCabe presented his report to council for consideration.

Councillors Sebastian Schiano, Doug Kitchen, and Michael Southwell expressed their concerns about the report, before voting against it.

Following intense debate, council agreed to formally receive the report.

Council also discussed the rates in the dollar, the minimum rate, and the specified area rate for the next financial year.

The initial recommendation opted for a 4 per cent increase in pre-growth rates yield, in accordance with the Section 6.36 of the Local Government Act 1995.

Councillor Brian Hearne said they should carefully consider the consequences before making a decision.

"Substantial cuts have to be made...issues regarding cash flow must be addressed," he said.

Mr Hearne also spoke out against the unfair treatment of councillors via social media.

Fellow councillor Barry Bell put forward an amendment, calling for the increase to be lowered from 4 per cent to 3 per cent.

Supporting the amendment, councillor Jennifer Scott said the shire should focus on core services in the short and medium term.

Mr Southwell said he refused to support yet another rate rise.

"We need to focus on the ratepayers and residents, and not the council...we need to give people some relief," he said.

"Council should get off people's backs and reduce the burden.

"This year, things should get more difficult for the shire and less difficult for the ratepayers."

Councillor Peter McCleery said a zero per cent increase would lead to an $800,000 deficit.

The amended recommendation was passed 7/1, with Mr Southwell voting against it.

Council will hold another meeting at the shire's headquarters on Friday, June 21 from 4.30pm.