A long-serving former Greater Shepparton City Councillor has questioned the level of attention the 2017/18 draft budget pays to towns outside Shepparton.
Former Tatura-based councillor Kevin ‘‘Gunna’’ Ryan believed the past few council budgets had been ‘‘a little bit Shepp-centric’’.
While not critical of councillors specifically, he suggested future makeups of the council needed increased rural representation.
He acknowledged specific projects funded outside of Shepparton and the significance of major projects in the central business district, but believed rates could be more fairly distributed across the local government area.
‘‘The most critical thing for a councillor is to make sure that rate money is spent evenly right across the municipality,’’ Mr Ryan said.
‘‘I believe the last three budgets have not addressed that.’’
He stressed rural towns and the Shepparton CBD relied equally on one another, that they deserved their fair share, not amounts that fell into ‘‘insignificance.’’
‘‘I think it’s tipped a little too far in Shepp’s favour,’’ he said.
‘‘Not to criticise the projects that are currently... being done in Shepparton.
‘‘But you’ve got to make sure you bring along the rural sector to make it a very livable municipality and also give confidence to smaller towns.’’
Mr Ryan questioned the attention paid to rural roads and a ‘‘reactive not proactive’’ approach to road maintenance being adopted.
He also argued rural recreation reserves — often the ‘‘hub of the town’’ — deserved a more even share.
Mr Ryan described funding for the Tatura pool base repainting being listed in a capital budget snapshot as ‘‘a little bit cheeky’’ arguing this constituted maintenance.
He said the Tatura community had long-awaited much-needed maintenance to Tatura Park.
He stressed the City of Greater Shepparton covers an area of 2422sqkm rather than just the Shepparton CBD.
Mr Ryan said Council had to be seen to be treating everyone equally.
The former deputy mayor and Rodney Shire president, who did not stand for re-election last year after decades representing the region, was not critical of the work of the current group of councillors.
But he hoped in the future for more rural-based community members to be elected.
‘‘It’s extremely important that two of the nine... come from the rural sector,’’ he stressed.
Greater Shepparton City Council said it wouldn’t comment on items awaiting a council meeting.
The budget is set to be endorsed next week.