Comments made last week by Bass Coast Shire Mayor Kimberly Brown have enraged many people.
Cr Brown attempted to lay the blame for her council’s shocking mismanagement of the Wonthaggi Cemetery with a council 44 years ago, long before she was born.
It is a disgrace that she attacks a council comprised of some of our finest citizens in its day.
I will refrain from naming them however many are now buried in the Wonthaggi Cemetery.
Many of the councillors from that era are of course still alive and living locally and they are amongst our finest citizens.
This has been clearly seen for what it is, an outrageous attempt to lay blame anywhere but with her own pathetic performance and that of her fellow councillors when it comes to what is clear mismanagement of the Wonthaggi Cemetery.
Her attempt to deflect blame away from herself arose from my comments regarding the lamentable state of affairs surrounding mismanagement of affairs at the Wonthaggi Cemetery by her council.
The council itself is the sole body charged with managing this essential asset and it is now known it has been mismanaged over the past three years.
Over this time period it’s everything to do with you and your council colleagues and you have legal as well as moral responsibilities.
Your recent announcement that burial fees will more than double and cost over $2000 has understandably enraged many citizens.
An increase of more than 100 per cent in one hit for any service is close to unbelievable.
So serious has been the mismanagement that I understand the situation has been taken up with the Auditor General. If the Auditor General undertakes an investigation, there will be many people vitally interested in his conclusions.
Last week I also highlighted the fact that the recently released State Government annual community Satisfaction Survey showed that overall, satisfaction by Bass Coast ratepayers and residents has declined yet again and Bass Coast is at the bottom level of comparable councils state-wide.
More than 400 residents of the shire were surveyed and this is their clearly expressed view.
It might be galling for Cr Brown that a State Government survey of more than 400 local people has given this verdict but that is the fact of the matter.
The people of Bass Coast are fed up to the back teeth with the performance of this council for understandable reasons.
Annual rate increases four times inflation on average, $2 million plus being spent on consultants, senior directors of Bass Coast highest paid in the Gippsland region, the dogs on leash fiasco, Surf Parade Inverloch footpath saga and traffic jamming devices recently installed on this road, and a bus shelter placed in the worst possible position at the top of the main street in Inverloch, facing into the wind and rain and with no disabled access.
A rubbish tip and unscreened eyesore established in the centre of North Wonthaggi, hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on private street schemes which will not go ahead, bitumen roads turned back to gravel, the rubbish tip taken away from Phillip Island residents and borrowings to increase this year to almost $12 million.
Bringing in highly paid consultants to help council with its woeful image, promises to consult and listen then totally ignore submissions, a $1 million footpath known locally as ‘the footpath from nowhere to nowhere’… This list is by no means exhaustive regarding the woeful performance of this council over the past three years.
This council has continued the incessant increase in rates in all their budgets culminating in a staggering 212 per cent increase over 15 years. If it were not for the coming council election in little over 12 months from now, there would be no end in sight.
Cr Brown stated that “legacy issues take time to resolve, and so too does the restoration of community satisfaction”. How long does it take, Cr Brown?
We are talking about the three years of your council – a period which has resulted in a continual decline in overall satisfaction in each of the last three years.
It’s no-one else’s fault Cr Brown.
We are talking about the pathetic result of the rein of you and your fellow Councillors.
You raised my time as a councillor and mayor over 40 years ago which was an era following the closure of the State Coal Mine and all the impacts that had on the town.
Councillors in that era didn’t whinge and seek to lay blame with others. I see this year as Mayor you are costing us $100,000.
Your allowance alone is $69,000 and of course there is superannuation, a car supplied with ratepayers paying all running costs including petrol. Ratepayers supply you with laptop, mobile phone, internet connection and of course all call costs are included. Many of us note with interest that even your City Link toll fees are paid.
You regularly attend seminars and forums far away from Bass Coast and all costs including attendance fees and accommodation are paid for by the ratepayers.
I even note that your personal development is not an item you have to pay for.
Cr Brown, you might be interested to learn that throughout my many years as councillor and Mayor there was no such thing as payment to councillors.
We received not one cent as payment to be councillor or Mayor. All councillors in that era undertook the role on an entirely honorary and voluntary basis.
So before you try to deflect blame from your own dismal performance, don’t consider blaming councils decades ago.
They were judged on their performance in their time and you are being judged on your performance in your time.
The view of over 400 people surveyed has laid bare your and your council’s deficiencies.
As a lady who spoke to me in the main street of Wonthaggi last Friday said: “We have our worst ever council led by a Mayor who has given us our worst-ever Community Satisfaction outcome. Where does that place our Mayor? I think we all know the answer to that question.
Alan Brown, Wattle Bank.