City Junkets without Budget Council publishes next years budget but failed to provide details of expenses

Melbourne City Council will today published ts 2006-2007 budget papers. Whilst we have not had time to review the published documents (They were not available on the Council’s web site when we looked this morning)

The Herald Sun, who it seams has been given an advance copy, has reported that the City of Melbourne is seeking to install parking meters as a means revenue raising to help pay for the Junkets. Lurks and Perks of the City Council.

Unfortunately the City Council does not provide budget details for overseas trips, internal catering (free lunches and free booze) and the costs of the Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayors Limousines. Councillor expenses are all met form the consolidated revenue.

Previous Auditors reports which continue to be ignore4d have recommended that Council set a budget for Councillor expenses and that a regular normal budget comparison be made each month. The City Council administration continues to refuse to provide this information or act responsibly.

If we find time we will resubmit our requests for financial details of Councilors travel expenses and cost of internal catering etc. Hopefully they will respond… but do not hold your breath the City Administration and the elected Council do not want to be held accountable let alone inform the public of were their money is going… Sad but true.

Drivers to help fund council’s trips
Jen Kelly

PARKING meters will be installed in Lygon St and more are proposed for Melbourne Zoo’s car park in a hip-pocket blow to families and shoppers.

The bid to suck an extra $800,000 a year out of drivers is revealed in the Melbourne City Council budget papers, to be released today.
It comes as the council — already under fire for its exotic junkets — lifts the annual budget for overseas programs and trips by about $400,000.

Traders are furious at the new parking fees, saying they will scare shoppers out of Lygon St and make zoo visits impossible for families.

The council expects to reap a record $54.2 million in parking fines and fees next financial year, budget papers show.

The documents show:

RATES will rise by 3.8 per cent on average.

RATEPAYERS will pay up to $1 million for the FINA world swimming championships at Rod Laver Arena next year.

AN extra $300,000 is expected to be spent on removing graffiti.

STAFF costs have soared 42 per cent to $74 million in just four years.

Councillors have agreed on meters in Lygon St, but those proposed for the zoo’s northern car park, next to Royal Park station, are still up for debate.

The zoo’s meters are predicted to raise $400,000 a year, with the revenue to subsidise the high cost of fixing the car park, which is in disrepair.

Lygon St meters are expected to generate another $400,000 a year.

Carlton Traders Association president Connie Paglianite said parking meters in Lygon St would be a disaster.

“It’s going to kill Carlton,” she said.

“The coffee’s not going to cost $3. It’s going to cost $5 or $6.”

Finance spokesman Cr Brian Shanahan it was surprising meters had not already been installed.

“You’ve got parking meters in Errol St (in North Melbourne). Why not in Lygon St?” he said.

Ms Paglianite, also a member of voluntary support group Friends of the Zoo, said parking meters at the zoo would make it hard on families.

“It’s hard enough trying to find car parking, let alone paying for it on top of that,” she said.

Cr Peter Clarke criticised parts of the budget and said funding to the swimming championships should be cut from $1 million to $700,000.

“We need to be funding local projects that are important to the ratepayers and residents,” he said.

Cr Clarke said the additional $400,000 for overseas travel and international links, especially with Milan, Delhi and China, should be dumped.

“I think sometimes local government can get too excited about its capacity to generate international trade.”

Cr Clarke said a lot more money should be spent on child care and other local priorities.

Parking fines in 2006-07 are expected to reap almost $28 million while parking fees are hoped to earn $26 million.

Total revenue is expected to be $245 million, with $127.7 million in rates.

The budget papers are expected to be approved at a council meeting today.

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