Warrnambool Ratepayers Association says it is ridiculous the city council is helping to prop up a private business while pushing to raise rates above the State Government regulated cap.
It comes after The Standard revealed that without a financial support package Sharp Airlines was due to fly its last service from the south-west last Friday.
President Brian Kelson said it was unfair to ratepayers, and questioned why a company was able to receive a support package.
The State Government along with Warrnambool City and Glenelg Shire councils are contributing matched funding, which has guaranteed the twice-daily-weekday and Sunday services to and from Melbourne will continue until July.
The councils have not revealed the amount of funding or what type of support or assistance Sharp Airlines will be given.
Mr Kelson, who is a former Warrnambool City councillor, said bailing out a private company was not right when the council was seeking approval to raise its annual rates.
“Supporting a business with ratepayers’ money and then asking them for a rate rise – it just shouldn’t be done,” he said.
“There’s no way you can defend keeping a community enterprise afloat.
“Will the council supply any money to anyone who was negatively impacted by the city centre renewal?”
A Warrnambool City Council spokesman said the support had been provided “on the basis that the air link was of considerable economic and community benefit to the Great South Coast and that a collective effort will be made to improve the viability of the service”.
“Council has been in discussions with Moyne Shire about a shared contribution, with Moyne also a beneficiary of the air passenger and freight service,” the spokesman said.
“Over coming weeks council will discuss the budgetary measures that will be taken to accommodate the contribution to help keep the air service operating.”