Four up, four down
Saturday, 1st June, 2019
By Callum Marshall
It was another heated Council meeting on Wednesday night as the timing of certain motions came under significant debate.
Councillor Tom Kennedy brought forth four motions to the meeting, all of which were voted down, with the main reasons being either the motion’s unsuitability for Council or the late timing of them.
Three of Clr Kennedy’s motions all featured the same comments from General Manager James Roncon, who stated that each project had not been put forward as a priority during council’s 2019/20 draft budget process and that they’d been brought up too late.
The same comments also mentioned that there’d been no information provided assessing the ongoing operating expenditures of each, and that council had internally restricted funds for the purpose of the Cultural Hub and library.
The three motions concerned money for the Alma Oval lights, upgrades to the Norm Fox Oval and upgrades to Queen Elizabeth Park.
Speaking during the discussion of the Alma Oval motion, Clr Kennedy said that there were, “quite a few GM comments against my motion,” and that, “I don’t think it’s appropriate for the GM and councillors to be debating.”
“Council should put up the $700,000 to light up that oval,” he said.
“It will send a clear message that the South is part of Broken Hill.”
Speaking against the motion, Councillor Branko Licul said that the money being sought had already been put away for the Cultural Hub.
“We do consider the South,” added Clr Licul, “you only have to look at the new Patton Park.”
He also said during the discussion of the Norm Fox upgrades that Clr Kennedy’s proposals had come too late and should be prepared for next year’s budget.
Clr Kennedy refuted that point and said the Norm Fox upgrades had been brought up during a key working group last year.
“This is not something that’s just been brought up,” he said.
The debate grew more significant as Clr Kennedy’s last motion, concerning upgrades to Queen Elizabeth Park, was brought up for discussion.
“The GM’s comments are the same, and I argue against the same points,” said Clr Kennedy.
“The Hub is not going to grow or improve our population.
“Quite frankly, Broken Hill doesn’t look like a place people will want to move to.
“We have a Council, in my opinion, which is negative.”
Speaking after the meeting, Mayor Darriea Turley said that Council was not against Clr Kennedy’s proposals, but said the motions had come too late and needed to go through the proper budgetary processes.
“We have made a decision in Council that you can’t just have an estimate, we want to make sure we’re not caught out again with data and quotes,” said Mayor Turley.
“We want every project to be quoted accordingly, that’s why we see the Community Hub where we’re going through so much analysis on that, so that when we go to the DA (development application), we go to government for funding and we’re ready to dig that soil.
“These projects that Clr Kennedy hasbrought up, the other councillors said tonight, ‘get them ready for next year’s budget.’
“Look at them now, get them prepared and be detailed about it.
“If you look at the work that we did in Patton Park, we tried to be as detailed as we could.”
Mayor Turley said proper planning was essential.
“The General Manager, myself and councillors do not want to be caught out with projects that we’re actually in deficit to run or it’s going to cost the community more when we take funds away from other projects,” she said.
“The truck wash is one example of that.
“Council put in a grant, we actually asked for more money, and unfortunately we didn’t get as much as we needed.
“The General Manager said, ‘we can’t accept this at this stage because we really haven’t got a detailed analysis and it would’ve cost Council a lot more.’
“We would’ve had to transfer other projects into that as well.
“We don’t want to go down that path, we want to make sure that when we do projects we actually cost them right, have the planning in place, put it in the budget process and start the process now for next year’s budget.”
She said she had already organised an appointment with the South Football Club to discuss the lighting at Alma Oval.
“We’ll be meeting and saying, ‘let’s start an open conversation about this’,” said Mayor Turley.
“Just because it wasn’t endorsed tonight, didn’t indicate that the councillors weren’t in support of the projects.
“They were saying it’s not ready for this budget.”