So this is Christmas.
And if ratepayers’ stockings are looking a little lighter this year, then Bass Coast Shire Council can take a good deal of the credit.
This year our high taxing councillors increased residential rates by a whopping 8.2 per cent, almost six times the current CPI of 1.5 per cent.
By the end of their current term, these councillors will have increased residential rates by an average of more than 7 per cent each year, while inflation will have averaged only 2.3 per cent.
Earlier this year, in attempt to rein in this constant gouging of ratepayers, the State Government introduced the Fair Go Rates system.
When introducing the system the Minister stated, “Our Fair Go Rates Cap will stop the excessive rate increases of the past, which have been at double or triple the rate of inflation.”
Unfortunately, your local councillors have developed an unquenchable thirst for your money.
So at last Wednesday’s council meeting, they unanimously voted to accept a council report that recommends giving the Essential Services Commission notice of intention to seek a variation to the cap.
That is, they want the ability to increase rates above the Fair Go level.
But to have any chance of raising the cap, they must demonstrate that they’ve consulted with the community.
So starting this month you’ll see messages from council appearing in newspapers, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
There’ll be interviews in newspapers, and on TV and radio. And there will be community forums.
I urge concerned ratepayers to attend any such forums and make their displeasure known.
Surely we must stop the rates rip off.
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, cap or no cap.
But whilst many of us are feeling the squeeze this Christmas, there are a few in the community who will be well and truly singing ‘Ho! Ho! Ho!’
Our council CEO for example. On top of his eye watering $300,000 salary, the HR committee has bestowed upon him another $20,000 of our money. How very generous of them. And we can only guess at what gobsmacking sums are being paid to his executive team, too many of whom he has welcomed aboard from Latrobe City for my liking.
I hope to see you at the Fair Go community forums.
Kevin Griffin, Inverloch.