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KNOX Council's 2012-13 draft budget caused drama at last week's special council meeting, with accusations flying and tensions running high between councillors.
Cr Joe Cossari told the Weekly he was "disgusted" over the behaviour of his fellow councillors at the meeting, particularly the debate that resulted in increasing the pensioner rate rebate from $50 to $100.
The draft budget was passed by the council 5-4, after two alternate motions failed to receive enough support.
The budget includes a 5.5 per cent rate rise, capital works valued at more than $29 million, funding to implement the new early years legislation for 15 hours of preschool from next year, and $1.3 million for drainage infrastructure upgrades.
Mayor Adam Gill praised the budget as one "for the people" that would deliver results and services for Knox residents. "There is not a consensus but I respect the right to hold different opinions," he said.
Cr David Cooper's alternate motion proposed increasing the rebate to $75 with an escalation factor examined every year, plus $380,000 towards repairs of Knox Civic Centre and funding for one-off aged-care projects.
An alternate motion put forward by Cr John Mortimore included funding for the civic centre repairs, as well as what Cr Gill referred to as a "shopping list" of further projects, but did not include any increase to the rebate.
Following an exclusive report in the Weekly last week in which Cr Cooper accused the mayor of "vote grabbing" by pushing for the rebate increase, Cr Gill defended his position.
He said he "didn't appreciate personal attacks" and had supported a $100 pensioner rate rebate for three-and-a-half years.
After the meeting, councillors Cossari and Mortimore exchanged tense words about showing respect for the council process.
The draft budget is now available for public consultation and will be voted on at the council meeting on July 24.