Budget delay on traffic

By Casey Neill

“You can’t go on a holiday when you haven’t got food to eat.”
This comparison of the Greater Dandenong Council budget to a household’s was part of Cr Jim Memeti’s successful push to refer a road investigation to the mid-year budget review.
“It is important for the council to stick by its budget,” he said at the Monday 8 August council meeting.
Cr Matthew Kirwan had moved a notice of motion requesting a report into current and potential future issues around Chapel Road, Keysborough.
He said residents reported increasing congestion issues with several intersections in the precinct, and that a new shopping centre under construction, a planned school and growing population could make things worse.
Cr Kirwan wanted a report to be provided to the 27 March council meeting following consultation with residents and community groups.
“Delaying investigating these issues is just delaying implementing solutions,” he said.
“The council needs to investigate serious issues as they emerge so that solutions can be put forward at budget time.”
But Cr Memeti questioned whether there was funding in the recently-adopted 2016-’17 budget to accommodate the request.
Engineering services director Julie Reid estimated the council would need to find $42,000 to fund the report.
“We would need to engage a consultant to do the work,” she said.
Ms Reid said her department did not have the resources to prepare the report and “this would be an overspend or we’d have to divert funds”.
So Cr Memeti suggested pushing the report into the next budget, rather than redirecting funds in the one passed just over a month ago.
“There’s things that won’t be done. There’ll be no money to do it with,” he said.
“Something is going to miss out.
“There’s nothing wrong with what Cr Kirwan’s put up. But something’s got to give.”
Cr Peter Brown suggested moving the report to the mid-year budget review, where it could be funded or put off until the 2017-’18 budget.
“We’re only in the sixth week of the current budget,” he said.
“But I agree with every concern that Cr Kirwan has expressed here. There is a problem.”
Cr John Kelly said councillors needed to be responsible.
“We can’t keep moving notices of motion and think we’ve got a pot of gold out there,” he said.
Cr Sean O’Reilly said Cr Kirwan had not explained why this precinct should “jump the queue”.
Was delaying the investigation the right call? Visit www.facebook.com/DandenongJournal to have your say.