Cupboard bare

Monday, 14th January, 2013

Council may knock back funding requests

By Kurtis J Eichler

Cash-strapped City Council could withdraw its sponsorship of this year’s St Pat’s races because its budget is exhausted.

As Council faces the prospect of having to repay almost $7 million in overpaid rates to mining company Perilya, it is planning severe cuts to spending, with recommendations to decline requests for financial support from community organisations.

Broken Hill’s largest race meeting, held on March 16, was given $10,000 by Council last year to put towards marketing costs.

But, according to Council’s General Manager, Frank Zaknich, there is no money available to the races in the Events Sponsorship Budget.

Documents from the Our Community Committee meeting showed it wasn’t alone, with other requests for financial assistance facing rejection because the Community Assistance Project budget also is exhausted.

These include sponsoring the Geebungs Rugby League Club and waiving the $698 fee for displaying Regional Development Australia signs at the airport.

A request by the hospital to have the Town Square hire fee waived for a Healthy Weight Week stall could also be denied, although a hospital spokesman said it would still be held.

Council might also decline participation in the NSW Rural Doctor Network’s 2013 Bush Bursary/Country Women’s Association Scholarship.

St Pat’s organisers - including secretary manager Deanne Lyall and Vice President Andrew Schmidt - will know Council’s decision when councillors vote on it at their January 23 monthly meeting.

In the six-years Council and St Pat’s have been in a partnership agreement, $40,000 has been given to the club.

Mr Schmidt said the club will talk with its other sponsors about raising the $10,000 if it’s unsuccessful.

“It doesn’t worry us because we’re fully aware of the situation Council are in,” Mr Schmidt told the BDT yesterday.

“We were fully aware before we even applied for it that it might not have gone ahead.

 

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“That’s the way things go. We just battle on.”

Mayor Wincen Cuy said all of council’s finances were under the microscope as they looked to see where their “core business” lay.

“Council needs to review everything it does,” Mayor Cuy told the BDT yesterday.

“It’s actually a cost to council to undertake all these. Where do we start?

“If we don’t start doing something then we’ll never start.”

Newly-elected councillor, Jim Richards, said the proposed cuts were “unfortunate” but “necessary”.

“We are in a really tricky financial spot and we need to review all our budgets and make sure we are in line,” Clr Richards said.

“We approved to make the budget cuts for the remainder of the financial year because the pool of money for sponsorship is empty and that’s why they are recommending we don’t fund them.”

“Hopefully, in the next financial year, the budget is replenished and people can get in early.”