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Fact check: Council spending explained

Watchbox Road view

Interested in local facts? Read on...

Thursday 15 February 2018

You might have read some views recently regarding how Mount Alexander Shire Council goes about delivering roads, waste removal and services to the almost 19,000 who live and work in our Shire.

So you know the facts:

In 2017/18, Mount Alexander Shire Council has budgeted to spend a record $12.68 million on capital expenditure – that’s roads, footpaths, buildings, pools, drainage and more. That is 57% of the revenue Council brings in from rates and charges (you can see the budget here). This is a jump from around 40% which has been the case for the last few years.

Mount Alexander Shire Council has around 200 staff (equivalent to around 165 full time jobs as many work part time). They provide services in areas such as aged and disability care, maternal and child health, emergency management, youth, environmental health, parks and gardens, sports and recreation, customer service, venue management, waste management, tourism, arts and culture, planning and more. The percentage that staff cost of total expenditure for our shire in 2016/2017 was 33.9%, which is well under the average of 37.15% for large rural shires in Victoria.

Every four years residents elect seven Councillors to lead the shire. This group of seven, led by the Mayor, makes decisions on how the money is spent, how we plan for the future (read our Council Plan), how we ensure we are providing services to all the community and what key, big ticket projects Council will pursue. Councillors vote on these options and the majority decides the outcome of anything before Council. You are more than welcome to attend our Council meetings which are held on the third Tuesday of every month at the Council Chambers in Castlemaine.

Every Council, government department and many businesses have a Code of Conduct. Ours can be read here. The code allows Councillors to speak on any topic they choose in the media or online, as long as they state this is a personal view. That said, Councillors are bound to decisions Council makes and should not criticise a Council decision. All Councillors in Victoria must abide by the Code of Conduct. Our code was adopted by Council in February 2017.

If you are interested in more about how Mount Alexander Shire Council compares to others, check out www.knowyourcouncil.vic.gov.au and we are always happy to answer questions. You can email us at info@mountalexander.vic.gov.au, you can keep it real and write to us with pen and paper or you can direct message us through our Facebook page.

Image: Watchbox Road, Barfold.

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