The new chief of the council's finances has said he would like future budgets to include details of works carried over from one year to the next.
One of the first tasks of Sean Portelli, installed as the interim director of business services on July 1 after the departure of long-term incumbent Glenn Kallio, was to oversee the adoption of the draft budget.
Councillors approved the document unanimously at an ordinary council meeting on Wednesday. It includes an overall rates freeze and scope to borrow up to $17 million more than currently on the City of Ballarat's books.
In a statement to The Courier, Mr Portelli said he would recommend future budgets include more details of projects planned for one financial year then held over to the next. "With direction from Council, I would support the inclusion of carryovers in future budgets," he said.
The move would in theory allow residents a broader picture of what is due to be spent in the following 12 months, as well as the projects that were being funded. Sums carried over each year can number in the tens of millions of dollars. Geelong and Bendigo councils already include those figures in their budgets.
Mr Kallio, who oversaw the drafting of the budget but had departed before its adoption, said including the figures made errors more likely.
IN OTHER NEWS:
Local Government Victoria recommends - but does not require - carryovers to be included where possible.
Mr Portelli described the budget that has just been passed as "a solid budget by all accounting standards."
He said he was satisfied this year's budget process had been transparent.
"The budget is published and submissions are read and considered," he said. "The process is transparent to the community of Ballarat."
The budget was released for public feedback on May 11 and originally due to be adopted in June.
However, there were calls for the budget to be pushed back to give the new interim CEO Janet Dore time to review it.
The state government allowed councils the option to postpone budgets until the end of August so they could adapt to the economic pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic.
There were 13 submissions within the original timeframe for feedback - a relatively high number for a process that rarely garners much attention. The newly approved budget has already been published on the council website. An introductory note from the previous CEO Justine Linley remains unchanged but is now attributed to Ms Dore.
Full budget coverage:
- Ballarat budget 2020/21: Council pushes back budget decisions
- Ballarat draft budget 2020/21: What's the real deal for how our money is being spent?
- City of Ballarat draft budget 2020/21: Residential rates to go up
- Council to cut agency staff
- Ballarat City Council's 2020-21 draft budget amid coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
- City of Ballarat budget 2020-21: Council proposes borrowing $17m for post-coronavirus budget
- Ballarat council draft budget 2020/21: Figures are not the full story
OMBUDSMAN COVERAGE: TIMELINE
May 14 The report is tabled
- City of Ballarat ombudsman report: 'jobs for mates' allegations regarding Ballarat Council executives
- Ombudsman report into Ballarat council: councillors express disappointment
- Ombudsman report into City of Ballarat: Councillors told to scrutinise CEO behaviour
- City of Ballarat ombudsman report: The intriguing finer details
- Ombudsman's report into Ballarat Council: What next for council officers?
- ANALYSIS: Troubled waters at town hall
May 18, 2020: Resignation and sacking
Mayor Ben Taylor with interim CEO Janet Dore. Picture: Kate Healy.
May 19: Mayor talks about Justine Linley's sacking
May 21: Price fixing links of acting CEO confirmed
May 24: Fresh doubts published over recruitment processes/ Fall out continues over decision to terminate Justine Linley's CEO contract
May 28: Push for new interim CEO
June 10: New CEO announced
June 12: First day of new interim CEO, Janet Dore
June 18: Directors jobs to be re-advertised
June 29: Director of business services resigns
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