THE Ballarat City Council spent nearly $90 million on external contractors in five years.
A report has been published into the use of external consultants by the council, and the level of contracts awarded locally.
In five years, 214 contracts worth $89.402 million were awarded to external contractors.
Local companies made up $66.363 million, with the remaining $23.039 million going to contractors outside of Ballarat.
The total payment to consultants in the past financial year was $3.8 million, or 2 per cent of the overall budget.
Councillor Peter Innes called for the report at the first ordinary meeting of the new council last year, because he wanted to address what triggers were used for employing consultants.
“In my wanderings before the election, there is a perception out there in the community that the council spends a lot of money on consultants and I’d like to clarify that,” Cr Innes said at the November meeting.
“There is also a perception that we seem to have a lot of contracts issued to non-Ballarat firms.”
The report, which will be considered by the council at its ordinary meeting tomorrow, shows the council’s record of sourcing works from outside of the region has improved.
In the last financial year alone, the council awarded 37 external contracts worth $10.722 million.
Seventy per cent were delivered within the Ballarat region.
External contracting reached its peak in 2009-10, when 52 contracts were awarded at a cost of $28.835 million.
Only 58 per cent were to Ballarat firms, while in 2010-11 just 46 per cent were local.
The report also addressed the reasons why external contractors were used.
The council went down this path when the expertise required was not available from within its employee base, or projects would be delayed if reliant on existing staff and their workloads, the report said.
Last September, The Courier requested details on Ballarat City Council contractors from October 2008 until June 30, 2012, but was given only partial access to information.