Ratepayers rally around rate cap
RATEPAYERS are continuing to demand Bass Coast Shire Council rein in rates, in the wake of a drop in session about rate capping in Inverloch on Monday, February 8.
Bass Coast ratepayers insisted council abide by the State Government’s 2.5 per cent rate cap instead of applying for a 4.7 per cent variation.
“What we have heard is consistent with feedback from the four workshops, one on one discussions and through our online communication channels,” council’s general manager governance and organisation development Mark Brady said.
“A majority of people want council to stick to the rate cap of 2.5 per cent, fund capital works programs, and continue to find efficiencies and savings.”
A community based petition originating in Inverloch showed evidence of ratepayers’ unity against varying the cap.
The petition closed on Sunday and although the number of signatories has not yet been tallied, Inverloch petitioner Mohan de Run expects it to top 2000.
Council’s CEO Paul Buckley reported a small segment of ratepayers have opposed the rate cap, but Mr de Run said the sampling of signatures on the petitions puts the figures at under three opposing persons per 100.
“The absolutely overwhelming response – 97 per cent – on the street in the past three weeks is council must operate with efficiency and stay within the rate cap,” Mr de Run said.
“The response from Phillip Island in particular has been amazing, with people queuing to sign.”
Mr de Run attended Inverloch’s drop in session and although he appreciated the different arrangement, he felt feedback would have been similar to the ideas presented at the workshops.
“We reinforced the need for council to cut costs and work with more efficiency within the 2.5 per cent rate cap,” he said.
Although only 12 people attended Inverloch’s drop in session, Mr Brady said it was a good opportunity to have some in depth discussions with ratepayers.
“Some people just wanted a question or two answered, while others stayed for an hour to discuss many items and offer suggestions. People also came along to share their ideas about council’s performance, rate capping and local issues,” he said.
Mr Brady said there had also been great interest in the online and print surveys about rate capping, with around 100 completed to date.
Rate capping will not appear on council’s agenda until the March meeting. All community feedback will be presented to council for consideration next month.
Drop in sessions will be held in Grantville on February 17 and in Newhaven/San Remo on February 23.
Ratepayers are still encouraged to visit the website and Facebook page to provide feedback until the end of February.
Senior staff will deliberate with business and community groups through February and March to gain more opinions.
Councillor only workshops will be held to consider feedback and start preparing a draft budget in mid March.
A final budget will be adopted by council by the end of June.
Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=17625