In 2013 our current Bass Coast councillors increased residential rates by 6.4 per cent, about three times the prevailing annual inflation rate of 2.3 per cent.
In 2014 they increased residential rates by 8.7 per cent, more than three times the prevailing inflation rate of 2.7 per cent.
This year they’ve increased residential rates by 8.2 per cent, about five times the current annual CPI of 1.7 per cent.
So at last Wednesday’s council meeting I asked them a very simple question: “Will they now commit to directing their CEO to ensure that the 2016/17 budget is prepared such that fees and charges are not increased by more than 1.7 per cent which is the known annual CPI for year ending June 2015?”
Unsurprisingly, their answer was evasive and equivocal. But basically it boils down to “No we will not.”
So these high taxing councillors are determined to continue jacking up rates by multiples of CPI year after year after year.
Page 8 of their Long Term Financial Plan shows they’re planning to slug ratepayers with rate increase of 4.7 per cent per annum for the next decade; that’s about three times the current inflation level.
By the end of their current term, the councillors will have increased residential rates by an average of more than 7 per cent each year, whilst inflation will have averaged only 2.3 per cent each year.
Clearly, they have developed a thirst for our ratepayer monies.
If our Bass Coast communities are not able to find suitable alternative candidates to stand against these councillors next year, then we ratepayers should be very afraid.
By their recent history, these councillors have shown that they are more than willing to transfer the household wealth of ratepayers to the coffers of council.
Make no mistake, they will continue to gouge residential ratepayers for as long as they can get away with it.
It remains my sincere hope that next year we will see alternative candidates step forward to offer themselves for service.
Candidates who will pledge to abide by the State Government ‘Fair Go Rates System’ whereby rates rises are capped at CPI.
Candidates who will also pledge to increase the transparency of all of council’s financial transactions.
Kevin Griffin, Inverloch