By Helen Tatchell
Three Moorabool councillors have voted successfully to redirect funds to a community event grant application that did not comply under council’s criteria.
The Bacchus Marsh Aquatic Centre Community Consortium runs the annual Bacchus Marsh Flower and Garden Show and requested $3000 to host the event in 2019, but only scored 64.93 – well below the score of 70 that is needed to be considered for Council to provide funding.
However, the turn-around arose when Cr Jarrod Bingham requested an amendment to the original motion at the 3 July meeting to include the Flower and Garden show.
Officer Ian Waugh told the meeting, “this is an ongoing event with no new component. The budget also did not comply.”
“Other applicants did not meet the threshold (70 or above); some with a very similar score. I am unsure of advice we give those people,” Mr Waugh said.
Another ‘not recommended’ group, the Ballarat Astronomical Society Inc, scored higher than the Flower & Garden Show, with 67.12 and requested only $650 to hold a dark sky astronomy night.
Cr Bingham said he noted they just fell short by 5.07 points score and asked officers, “have we met the threshold or is there still money in the kitty?”
“There is still money in the fund that is not allocated – that application deemed to not comply,” Mr Waugh said.
Voting on the amendment to become the motion, Cr Bingham said the Flower and Garden Show has been ongoing for number of years with the primary purpose for an indoor swimming pool.
“Every little bit helps. This is a return on investment. Council will see funds raised in years to come,” he said.
Crs Keogh and Dudzik supported their fellow councillor’s statement.
“Every now and again a project comes up that has merit,” Cr Keogh said.
“This particular event is a worthy event, I see benefits for young and old to enter in the Flower and Garden Show,” Cr Dudzik said.
However, Cr Tom Sullivan objected and made his own valid statement.
“Council put in place a process – the threshold point is 70 per cent, council agreed this is an appropriate figure. This group scored 64.93 per cent, a substantial amount below.
“Why bother having council officers assess these applications if we are going to make ad-hoc decisions. This is not the way we should be doing business. The threshold was 70 per cent that council decided, and we should stick with that.
“If we don’t use all of the available money, we roll it over to the next lot of Community Grants, this is so we get quality projects,” he said.
“We put in place a process. We have to abide by the process, because if you don’t people will start pointing the finger. We run the risk of reputation and the community will say ‘what a joke’.”
The vote to amend the motion was passed with Crs Bingham, Dudzik and Keogh voting For, whilst Crs Sullivan and Tatchell voted Against.
Cr David Edwards and Cr Pat Toohey were apologies at the meeting and did not attend.
Council had $10,000 available in Round 1 (March) of the Community Events Grants, with $8,240 allocated at the 3 July meeting. This does not include the $3000 requested for the Flower & Garden Show.
Moorabool Mayor Cr Paul Tatchell told Cr Bingham that he will present a rescission motion on this item “when we have a full council at a meeting,” meaning when all seven councillors are present.