Just sayin’…

June 9th, 2024Just sayin’…

OK. By now we all know the Hepburn Shire Council is in a bit of a state financially.

By Donna Kelly

OK. By now we all know the Hepburn Shire Council is in a bit of a state financially.

But how did it all go so wrong? The Rex perhaps? Nah. Couldn’t be. Hang on, I think I know what’s happened. The numbers don’t add up. I realised that after I read the following words in the draft budget: “Even after the $4.50 million borrowings and $1.5m operational savings council will still need to identify $4.00 of permanent additional revenue or expenditure reductions in 2025/2026.”

Even the embattled councillors must have got a little laugh out of that. Maybe not.

Talking of typos, I remember quite a few years back hearing of a national newspaper being produced by a laissez faire sub-editor who filled in the front page headline space with big 60 point letters.

Keep in mind the most you should ever write in a headline space is Headline Goes Here – just in case you forget to change it.

But this guy was a joker and wrote WORLD IS… and then he put an F and then a U and then a K and then a T.

You can see how I would be thinking about that as I wade through Hepburn Shire Council’s draft budget and draft town structure plans.

The really funny thing, not for the sub because he got the sack, is that a few copies managed to get printed and delivered before someone called the wonderful “Stop the presses”. I would love a copy if you happen to have one.

Anyway, things are not going well for the council and you could say the ratepayers are revolting. I am sure the council is saying that. It really does feel like a bit of a revolution and then you wonder who will be at the helm when the next elections are held in November.

Will the current mob want another four years or is it time for them to bow out?

Or is it time for the state government to step in and take over? And what does that mean for everything on the table now?

Or will the council look for a merger – but what council would want to take on a cash-strapped neighbour. Ballarat? Moorabool? Maybe more likely Melton because we are going to start looking like that once we turn our farm land into subdivisions of ticky tacky houses.

The swathes going through Middleton Field are already pretty mind blowing and then they go and cut down an historic and important cedar tree. Yes it was on private land, and yes, it made way for access to the estate, but at what cost.

That reminds me of another time when the state government worked to move the fire station at Glenlyon to the other side of Barkly Street, mostly commonly known as the avenue of honour although I have been told it is an avenue of federation.

Anyway, to create access for the fire trucks we were told they needed to remove five of the oaks and elms.

Kyle, myself and a neighbour protested. And many people told us we were against the fire station and even called us tree huggers. Gasp!

Finally, the developer agreed that the trucks could enter from the back of the block and no trees needed to be removed. Problem solved. Although we did have one more stand to make.

A Powercor bloke came to drill under the avenue to connect power. Kyle asked him to hold off while we called his manager. He told Kyle: “They’re just f…king trees, mate.”

I then called the manager who assured me all their staff were highly trained professionals and I had to beg to differ.

Long story a little shorter, they put the power in from the back of the block and the trees are there to continue their journeys today.

I dunno, it’s all a bit crazy right now, and the public consultations for both the budget and the town structure plans are coming quickly. If you have something to say, now is the time.

And for the councillors, I don’t envy your jobs but as I have said before please concentrate on getting it right, rather than just getting it done.

The future looks a little bleak and we really are in your hands. Just sayin’..

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