Moonee Valley Council made only minor changes to its draft budget when voting on the final budget for 2020/21 last night.
Money for library books was restored as libraries have reopened earlier than expected. A small grant was allocated to the Italian Pensioners of Essendon, and the $30,000 membership fee for the Victorian Local Governance Association was diverted towards COVID recovery items in the Green Action Plan (yet to be finalised).
In moving the budget, Cr Sharpe said it was a “gruelling task” and that “due to the impact of COVID-19 this budget has had to be scaled back to the bones.” She was pleased there was “no to very little debt”.
In commenting on measures to address climate change in the budget, and not taking on board any further submissions for funding to reduce community greenhouse emissions, Cr Marshall said there was a necessity to refer submission ideas to the Environment Advisory Committee to be sure of budgeted amounts.
Cr Marshall listed numerous items in the environment service delivery area including: parks, open space sand streetscapes, wetland, $750K tree planting, neighbourhood planting, ground cover, flood modelling studying, ESD for capital works, monitoring performance, programs for community – energy audits and retrofits; sustainability championships; behavioural change; tailored schools program, working with commercial building owners, developers, membership of WAGA and Officer resource to assess and implement – 100% renewable electricity procurement for council.
Cr Marshall had earlier tabled a petition from 1853 people asking MVCC to amend the Green Action Plan to include interim targets, and fund action to achieve targets for net zero community emissions in MVCC.
Supervised injecting rooms
A notice of motion from Cr Surace called for Council to write to the Victorian State Government to advise that Moonee Valley City Council does not support any future proposal to locate a supervised injecting room facility in the municipality.
There hasn’t been any suggestion to date of a facility being established in Moonee Valley. The motion was in response to the City of Melbourne concerns about a lack of consultation prior to the establishment of a facility in North Melbourne.
Crs Nation and Marshall spoke against the motion citing documentation suggesting Moonee Valley had a low need for a supervised injecting facility. Cr Sharpe said she did not have sufficient information on the matter and would prefer to abstain.
The motion was lost with Crs Byrne, Surace and Gauci Maurici supporting the stance against supervised injecting rooms in Moonee Valley.
The motion didn’t present a conflict of interest for Cr Marshall despite her husband, Danny Pearson, taking up the position of Assistant Treasurer of the State Government on Monday.
There was a motion to prescribe dates for football and cricket in Moonee Valley during September and October. Cr Sipek commented on the difficulty of making predictions about sporting competitions during the ongoing COVID pandemic.
State-wide sporting associations have set dates for competition acknowledging that these too might have to change. the motion was carried unanimously potentially making it difficult for officers to be flexible in response to changing circumstance. However, given MVCC will be in caretaker mode during the period in question, the CEO might be able to respond appropriately to changing circumstances under the powers they have to manage the municipality as required.
Two councillors were absent at tonight’s meeting: Crs Cusack and Lawrence.
There were two questions from two members of the public – including me (Rose).
Meredith Anderson asked about the car park at Strathnaver Reserve recently completed for $900,000. Residents experienced inconvenience and were not notified. She asked for a line-by-line breakdown of the costs of this project. The CEO said there was an increase from 14 to 40 bays. There was no consualtion with neighbours. A path increased costs to $998,000. Meredith’s second. question asked about the transparency of time and cost over-runs. The CEO said there was an increase in time due to the completion of walls.
I asked why there wasn’t a Long Term Capital Works Plan accompanying the budget this year. The CEO responded that it is not obligatory for councils to set long term capital works plan. It was developed for 2040 as guiding reference document to meet council’s vision. Many uncertainties including COVID, rate-caps, were affecting the plan which now needs to be reviewed.