Alexandrina Council's elected members have voted down the proposed Annual Business Plan and Budget for the financial year 2021/22.
At a meeting on Monday evening, July 5, elected members raised issues with the proposed documents, taking aim at the projected council deficit, loan borrowings and a 2.7 percent rate increase.
In a surprisingly short meeting that lasted about 25 minutes, councillors including John Carter, Bronwyn Lewis, Michael Farrier and Bill Coomans spoke out against the proposed business plan and budget.
Cr Carter moved a motion against the adoption of the budget and requested it be brought back to council with no deficit, no reduction in service levels, no rise in rates above the proposed 2.7 percent and no increase in debt above what has been proposed.
This motion was passed seven votes to three, with councillors Farrier, Lewis, Gardner, Bradford, Coomans and Scott supporting Cr Carter.
Opposing Cr Carter's motion were councillors Keily, Maidment and Stewart; while Cr Rebbeck was absent.
A council spokesperson told The Times a new Annual Business Plan and Budget would be brought back to the council "as soon as possible", but could not confirm an exact time frame.
Cr Lewis said she could not support the 2021/22 Annual Business Plan and Budget in their current form.
"I see nothing except for rate increase," she said.
"Our only way forward in the long term financial plan is getting out of debt by putting up rates. We're looking at about 10 grand a day and we're not even addressing the old debt, so what legacy are we leaving for our young people in Alexandrina?"
Cr Farrier said he was "really saddened" that during his time in council, requests for a review into the operational budget had "not been transparent".
"I look at the debt that we currently have; we are talking about increasing the debt by four million dollars this year. That's $11,000 per day not including interest," Cr Farrier said.
"I am saddened that is has come to this..."