IT was local resident, Ben Ladson’s drive for a more efficiently run council that led him to make the decision to run as a council candidate in the elections later this year.
In describing his snappy slogan, ‘It’s time to put a leash on council spending,’ Ben explained to The Adviser that the current council’s priorities are in the wrong place.
“It was Fern Summer who questioned me on putting my hand up to run as a candidate after she saw my Change.org and Facebook campaign against the proposed Shepparton Art Museum (SAM),” Ben said.
“I have a passion for wanting to help get Shepparton on the right track and the impractical spending of local rate payer’s money is not the way forward.
“The new SAM will require ongoing investment once $42M has been spent to build it, and how do they plan on funding this? Through rate payer’s dollars?
“There was no money put aside in the last government budget for the hospital and our train services continue to disappoint despite endless surveys, so it doesn’t make sense why council would be pushing for funding from the government for a new SAM.
“There are a lot more pressing issues facing Shepparton. I’d be looking at bringing a more positive attitude to council, would really consider all avenues before making a decision and would genuinely be a voice for the community.
“I do believe our region needed a drug rehabilitation centre yesterday, but obviously nobody deserves to have it in their backyard.
“When it comes to other issues such as the Maude Street Mall, I don’t think just throwing money at it is the solution. Perhaps they should be looking at lowering rates to bring business and jobs back to the heart of Shepparton, and do this in surrounding townships as well.
“Knocking down the Queens Gardens toilets came at a cost of $22,000 and council did it right before the biggest event held in the Queens Gardens, Carols by Candlelight. Was that truly a great move by our councillors?
“There are good things council are doing such as the off leash dog park, the Activities in the Park program, sporting events and activities. We should be pushing more for Shepparton to become the dominant sporting centre of regional Victoria. This would be beneficial for the region’s businesses and tourism.
“If elected, my first focus would be getting rates down, not just capping it, and a major part of that would be by cutting back unnecessary spending and pulling back borrowing money for extravagant projects.”
To throw your support behind Ben, find ‘Ben Ladson for Shepparton Council’ on Facebook.