Rate cap backflip
BASS Coast Shire Council may retain the 2.5 per cent rate cap, following angst from ratepayers.
An overwhelming 73 per cent of ratepayers demanded council adhere to the State Government’s rate cap, while only 11 per cent thought a 4.7 per cent variation was justified.
A citizens’ petition also showed 2903 signatures supporting the rate cap.
Adrian Banks from Inverloch NewsXpress was pleased council revealed it may be leaning in favour of the cap, and believed it would give council plenty of room to move while respecting the livelihood of its ratepayers.
“I think the rate cap is a good idea. I think it offers enough without council needing to make damaging cuts to community projects. They need to learn to live more frugally,” he said.
Mr Banks said council needed to hire fewer consultants along the way.
“I was disappointed to hear $50,000 was spent on a survey for a wind turbine blade park. It’s needless things like that council really need to stop and consider,” he said.
“Council need a new mindset about what things are supposed to cost. There would be scope to find savings if council weren’t spending extraordinary amounts.
Mr Banks said he was also disappointed with the feedback survey released about the rate cap.
“We would ask what projects we would like to see cut if council retains the 2.5 per cent rate cap. That’s not what this is about. It’s about what council can do better to be more efficient,” he said.
“I think they went about things the wrong way and they could save more money if they use fewer consultants. They spend too much money on consultants when they have officers who could do the same thing and they hire three people to do jobs one person could complete.”
Council CEO Paul Buckley said the community engagement achieved what it set out to do – establish whether the community supported a variation to the cap and where they believed council should reduce expenditure, services and projects.
“The community was asked to prioritise how important council services and projects were them and asked for suggestions on where council could find efficiencies, savings and cost reductions,” Mr Buckley said.
“We were pleased with the number of community members who participated in the workshops, drop in sessions and survey and those who provided individual feedback or had one on one discussions with staff.”
Mr Banks said he would not want to see council delay the Inverloch footpath just because it is limited to a 2.5 per cent rate rise.
“It’s a footpath by the side of the road. We desperately need it. We don’t need more consultants telling us it will last 100 years,” he said.
Council will consider all feedback as it prepares to draft the 2016-17 budget, which will be released for community consultation on April 21.
Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=17798