Published by Cobram Courier online and in print on April 16.

Barooga residents have been promised a $100000 public toilet block, flag poles and a fruit fly mitigation program in the draft 2014-15 Berrigan Shire Council budget, which will go before councillors for approval this morning ahead of its public exhibition.

Barooga Advancement Group president Darrell Bowden said he hoped councillors would vote to increase allocated funding for the Barooga walking track.

A $40000 item was listed in the budget document as a ‘walking cycling track’ in Berrigan, but council confirmed yesterday the funds were for the Barooga track.

Mr Bowden estimated the track would cost $70000 to build, and a further $10000 each for two exercise stations.

He said BAG never asked council for a specific amount, but said he believed council knew the project’s cost.

‘‘That still hasn’t been passed (by councillors),’’ Mr Bowden said.

‘‘We’re hoping the shire can budget $70000 for the tracks so we can spend our raised proceeds on the exercise stations.’’

Berrigan corporate services director Matt Hansen said $40000 was the ‘‘full amount’’ for the project.

Barooga Botanical Gardens Committee president Geoffrey Brentnall welcomed the announcement of funding for a new toilet block at the gardens, and said he was eager to see the plans for the project.

He said he expected council to renovate the existing toilet block, rather than build a new one.

‘‘It’ll be a pretty good toilet block for $100000,’’ Mr Brentnall said.

‘‘I think the renovation to the toilet block would enhance the garden.’’

Cobram Fruit Growers Association president Frank Diaco said he was pleased to hear council was supporting farmers through a fruit fly mitigation program.

The budget listed $5000 for the program, which council said would contribute to the purchase of baits and an education program.

The funds add to $5000 carried from last year’s budget, with a further $5000 indicated for 2015-16.

Mr Diaco estimated it would cost council almost $20000 a year to properly control the pests, but praised council’s contribution.

‘‘You’d hope Moira Shire would contribute some (as well), but I would hope the (Victorian) State Government would come to the party, also,’’ Mr Diaco said.

Some $40000 is also set aside for flag poles in each of the four towns, with community groups required to supply flags or banners.

Mr Bowden said he was pleased with the overall budget.

‘‘We’ve got everything on our wishlist,’’ he said.

Council estimates a $24856 surplus in the budget, compared with the $469337 surplus generated during 2013-14.

Mr Hansen said revenue for the budget period was estimated at $24597320.

Council’s total expenditure for 2014-15 was estimated to be $25041801, which Mr Hansen said included the 2013-14 surplus.

AuthorToni Brient