'Unforseen issues' affect Bendigo budget

CITY of Greater Bendigo councillors will consider the mid-year budget review following “unforeseen issues” which have slashed money from the budget.

The council is forecasting a $1,197,026 cash deficit for this financial year.

The report, found in the council agenda, lists a $914,806 reduction in grants commission funding from the federal government and a $10.3 million superannuation scheme shortfall as issues that have impacted the budget.

Director of organisation support Marg Allan said officers would continue to work for a balanced cash position.

“It is prudent to review the city’s financial position on an ongoing basis, particularly at mid-year, to make any necessary adjustments to ensure financial sustainability,” Ms Allan said.

The report notes the council was able to save $589,321 by paying the full amount early but also lists more than $800,000 worth of new projects for consideration. 

The report recommends proceeding with three of the projects, valued at about $420,000. 

In other items to be considered at Wednesday night’s meeting, council staff have again recommended the Golden Square pool be closed despite strong community opposition.

Manager of active and healthy communities Patrick Jess commended the efforts of the Golden Square community to keep but pool open but said it wasn't a viable option.

“The pool has been closed a number of times in previous years because of non-compliance issues, such as poor water quality,” he said.

“Golden Square residents deserve access to a swimming pool of a satisfactory standard and the city cannot guarantee this would be achieved after spending $290,000 on a pool of this age.”

The report notes it would cost close to $300,000 to recommission the pool and $50,000 to keep it open for three months.

Staff recommend closing the pool and developing a master plan for the site and adjacent areas.

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