A Warrnambool councillor is sticking by comments he made about the council dropping its contribution to aged and family services at Monday's budget meeting.
However mayor Vicki Jellie says overall spending for the services will increase with rising funds from state and federal coffers.
"There is more state and federal funding for services but council itself is decreasing its financial input," councillor Ben Blain said on Wednesday.
"This year (2021-22) council contributed $689,000 to aged services. In 2022-23 the council is only going to fund $361,000, effectively halving its contribution. It's a similar story for family services - the council is not contributing much more.
"I think the council should be leading with our contribution as these are some of the services that have the biggest impact on the Warrnambool community."
At Monday night's special council meeting to adopt the 2022-23 budget Cr Blain said there was cuts to family and aged services, which would hit "some of the most vulnerable in our community".
He was the sole councillor who voted against adopting the $109.6 million budget. No councillors responded to his comments about the cuts at the meeting.
Crs Max Taylor, Angie Paspaliaris, Otha Akoch and Richard Ziegeler voted for the budget to be approved.
Crs Jellie and Debbie Arnott were absent from the meeting.
Cr Jellie, in response to questions from The Standard, refuted Cr Blain's comments from the meeting.
"In relation to claims about reduced services for the aged and families, these areas will have increased investment in 2022-23," she said in a statement to The Standard.
"The projected spending on aged services in is $5.1 million, up from a forecast $4 million in 2021-22.
"The projected spending on family services will be $9 million, up from a forecast $8.5 million in 2021-2022."
Cr Jellie said funding would be sourced from government grants.
"Home Support funding from the federal government would increase by 3.27 per cent to $1.89 million," she said.
"The Carers Support program funding increases from $227,000 to $270,000 (including a $40,000 one-off bonus).
Cr Jellie said funding for the Home and Community Care Program for Younger People was yet to be announced but expected it would unlikely be reduced on last year's $255,000 cash injection.
Cr Blain said aged and family services were "some of the most important services offered by council".
"Aged services keep people in their homes longer and that is critical with an ageing population," he said.
"We really need to be supporting these services and be leaders. We are contributing less which I'm positive will affect the service.
"It's critical for Warrnambool in order to be able to look after those who need the most help.
"These services are critical to south-west families especially with the rising cost of living and inflation.
"Especially for lower socio-economic families, it makes a huge difference to these kids and their outcomes later in life to be engaged with the services."
Some fees for family and aged services will also increase.
Deputy editor at The Standard. Former Warrnambool City Council and general news reporter. Send me news tips: email@example.com
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