Policy revamp to cut mayor’s handout discretion

Elise Van AkenGeraldton Guardian
City of Greater Geraldton mayor Shane Van Styn.
Camera IconCity of Greater Geraldton mayor Shane Van Styn. Credit: Geoff Vivian/The Geraldton Guardian

The City of Greater Geraldton Council will review the $50,000 budget the mayor can dole out at will from the City’s 2020 community group budget.

Next Tuesday, the council will vote to adopt its updated policy on community funding programs, which includes the Mayoral Discretionary Fund.

Mayor Shane Van Styn has autonomy to grant community projects financial assistance up to $5000.

Projects to receive more than $5000 from the fund must be put to the council for approval.

At the City’s agenda forum on November 17, Cr Jennifer Critch inquired how much the fund was and if a list of projects it supported last year could be made available before the next meeting. The 2021 MDF budget is set to be cut from $80,000 if the new policy is approved.

A notable change to the proposed 2021 policy is specific budget allocations have been removed as they are already determined as part of the annual budget process, allowing the council the opportunity to be “more adaptive” in their level of prioritisation and support, and to changes within the community.

The City’s Community Funding Program also provides community grants of up to $20,000; community project support up to $2000; service agreements with local organisations which provide services the City may be required to provide if the organisations did not; a festival and event program; self-supporting loans; and a community sporting and recreation facilities fund.

On Tuesday, the council will also vote on an application from the Wonthella Bowling Club for a self-supporting loan of $200,000 for installation of a synthetic bowling green.

The City would take out the loan with the WA Treasury Corporation on behalf of the club, with which it would come to a repayment arrangement.

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