Councillor storms out as Town of Cambridge budget debate gets heated

Councillor storms out as Town of Cambridge budget debate gets heated

TENSIONS flared and a councillor stormed out of a meeting over a last minute proposed amendment as council debated the Town of Cambridge 2016-17 budget thisweek.

The July ordinary council meeting surged past its fourth hour with a debate over councillor Andres Timmermanis’ list of proposed deletions and alterations to the Town’s spending in the budget.

He wanted the changes to reflect a rate increase of no more than 2.5 per cent, as opposed to the budgeted 2.7 per cent increase, but the timing and content of the submission sent tempers soaring.

Cr Corinne MacRae said she was “disappointed it was submitted at the 11th hour.”

The point was raised that council already had budget workshops throughout the year to discuss such issues, but Cr Timmermanis did not attend them.

He said he took offence at Cr MacRae’s implication he did not put much time or thought into his amendment.

“I went through the budget line by line; it is a 4000 line document,” Cr Timmermanis said.

“I am not worried about offending other councillors, I am worried about offending the ratepayers.

“This is what we are here to do.”

Mayor Keri Shannon said she was surprised how short the workshops were and how limiting the questioning was by fellow councillors.

“No one went through with a line by line analysis; we do need to tighten our belts,” she said.

“It is not fair for our ratepayers to keep reaching into their pockets when they are pensioners.”

She vowed to next year go through the budget line by line and challenge everything.

Cr Louis Carr retorted that she had chaired those meetings so the buck stopped with her.

Factions began to solidify when Cr Tracey King expressed she was sick of Ms Shannon and Cr Timmermanis “poo-pooing” everything, which Ms Shannon and Cr Rod Bradley saw as a “personal attack”.

Cr Bradley repeatedly called for a point of order before his outburst.

“I don’t have to listen to this crap; keep it for the next conniving session of Wembley ward councillors,” he said.

He stormed out and the amendment lost the majority vote.