Melton’s free snake removal program could be here to stay.

A report outlining the results of a two-year trial snake removal program in the area was tabled at last Monday’s council meeting, with councillors voting to continue the program for now and eventually make it a permanent service – if next year’s budget allows.

The snake removal program has cost council $28,000 to date.

More than 200 call-outs were recorded in 2017, mainly in Caroline Springs, Melton, Brookfield and Eynesbury, with nearly half of those resulting in the relocation of snakes.

In that period, 46 tiger and 47 brown snakes were found and relocated, while 32 calls turned out to be for lizards.

Cr Lara Carli, who initiated the trial in 2016, said she was keen to see the program “locked in” as a permanent service.

“I believe our residents deserve this program,” Cr Carli said. “It’s been a successful program.

“We pay high rates here and the service has been so supported by our residents.”

But Cr Sophie Ramsey pushed for the initiative to be considered under the next budget.

“I agree that it’s been a huge success,” Cr Ramsey said.

“It’s attracted a lot of attention … but, like all good initiatives, I believe it should be referred to next year’s budget meetings to allow the budget to determine council’s priorities.”