A concerned ratepayer

Nigel Meeks, Castlemaine

I write regarding the story ‘Budget blowout’ (Express, April 23). I am absolutely bewildered by Mount Alexander Shire Council’s expenditure of $460K of the shire’s money on a playground in Victory Park.
Do we really need such extravagance? I ask does this lump sum price include ongoing contract variations that are quite normal to construction issues and has the council allowed for ongoing maintenance costs i.e. graffiti removal? Has there been a cost analysis for all these items?
I ask the current councillors to remove the blinkers and have a good look around the shire and identify the much-needed priority issues such as roads, bridges, paths, cycle paths etc. There are numerous gravel roads in the shire with deep corrugations crying out for maintenance after several weeks – nothing is being done!
A councillor had the nerve to say the council had a “slush fund”. Perhaps the budget allocations have been too generous. Perhaps these excesses should be reallocated to more needy requirements across the shire and community.
How much more should the shire ratepayers shoulder these extravagant expenses and still endure the ordinary infrastructure in this shire?
Please councillors have a rethink on the future of this shire with regard to basic infrastructure needs and value for our ratepayers.

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