Cr says budget fails ratepayers – doesn’t explain why
By Michael Sinclair-Jones
AN ACRIMONIOUS dispute erupted at the end of last month’s Toodyay Shire Council special meeting when members voted 6-1 to approve a seven per cent rate rise.
The increase aims to raise $7.6 million in ratepayer revenue this financial year.
Cr Mick McKeown (left) objected to the increase and other budget statements of account.
“In my opinion this budget does not adequately address the concerns of the ratepayers of Toodyay,” he said.Read more
McKeown did not speak further to his objection.
“Right, it’s a bit late in the day to mention it,” Shire President Rosemary Madacsi said as she recorded Cr McKeown’s objection.
Earlier, councillors voted 7-0 to give themselves a pay rise this financial year.
“Point of order, Madam President,” Cr McKeown said.
“Are you making a comment or having a debate or ruling on a point or order?”
“I am making a comment, councillor,” President Madacsi said.
“I think you need to withdraw it,” Cr McKeown said.
“No, I don’t think so,” President Madacsi said.
“We’ve had … the comment I think was valid given the amount of workshops (eight since last December) we’ve had.
“If there was a concern with the budget …”
“Madam President, you are now debating,” Cr McKeown said.
“I’m not debating, I’m making a …” President Madacsi said.
“Oh, I think you are …” Cr McKeown said.
Both began talking over each other.
“You are overruling the presiding member,” President Madacsi said.
“I’m interrupting the presiding member on a point of order,” Cr McKeown said.
“You have a point of order for constantly interrupting and over-speaking the presiding member,” President Madacsi said.
“There is no rule against interrupting a presiding member,” Cr McKeown said.
“There is a rule that says you are not to interrupt another councillor except when raising a point of order.”
“Then I suggest you become more familiar with standing orders please,” President Madacsi said.
“Councillor, we will move on.”
Members voted 7-0 to accept five of the meeting’s seven budget recommendations.
The other two recommendations were carried 6-1, with Cr McKeown voting against both but not speaking further.
They included $360,000 in annual State Treasury loan repayments for a previous council’s decision in 2019 to build the now largely unused Toodyay Recreation Centre.
Cr McKeown declined later to explain to Herald readers why he said the budget failed to adequately address ratepayer concerns, and why he twice voted ‘no’ at the meeting.
“I now may not make any elaboration regarding this matter because to do so may be a breach of clause 4(1)(e) of the Shire of Toodyay Code of Conduct for Council Members, Committee Members and Candidates,” Cr McKeown said.
The clause published on the shire website under the heading ‘Personal integrity’ says a council member “should avoid damage to the reputation of local government”.