I attended the Rate Challengers meeting at Venus Bay and have followed the responses with interest.
One press article wrote that the only councillor present (hung out to dry big time) said the following, and I quote: “Council was in a strong financial position to start reducing rates. Unlike neighbouring councils, we have no debt, and part of our council plan over four years was supposed to be a rate reduction of three per cent.”
At the meeting I expressed my opinion that councillors have virtually no idea about finances and comment as follows:
• Why do councillors need four years to think about a rate reduction? Is that to be announced just before the next council election? I read bits in the four year plan about a three per cent rate reduction but the Financial Budget Rates Income, around $41 million per year, does not show a reduction in any one of the four years. Please explain!
• Council’s $ 3.35 million bank loan to be paid in 2020. Don’t councillors know that – or forget at times?
Balance sheet 2018 says money in the bank is $36 million. This includes $ 28 million not needed for operational purposes and pretty well salted away in term deposits. Fresh rates income adds to that easily making the ‘sugar bowl’ bigger.
Why is this so? This ‘sugar bowl’ has been accumulated with the extraordinary high rates we are forced to pay. I think that is scandalous.
The meeting was also told, and I quote: “So with the cash in the bank, where should it be spent?”
I say this: This money ripped from ratepayers must be returned to ratepayers.
Unfortunately, councillors, have you not noticed this money is being spent, right now, by the bureaucracy?
Capital expenditure planned this year is $ 23 million and with a grants income of $14 million, we see $9 million down the gurgler already. Operational costs, alarmingly high, will ensure not much left, if any.
Capital expenditure should have red flags and alarms all over it.
The danger of two storey two unit development all over Venus Bay as planned by a Melbourne architect firm is with us right now.
VCAT action may have stalled this development in Bradley Street temporarily.
Further legal action may well result in ugly two-unit, two-storey boxes all over Venus Bay spoiling the peninsular forever. And after that? Tarwin Lower, Walkerville, Fish Creek, etc?
The neglect of Venus Bay must be addressed immediately. Not with Mickey Mouse rubbish with an eye on the next election, but with real governance. The usual wringing of hands and endless waffle, spin and process with no measurable outcomes is not acceptable.
Councillors, you are on notice. Your are found neglectful and deficient big time. Your every move is now watched and evaluated. And judged.
Please let us know your plans, timetable and measurable outcomes. That would be a start, belated as it is.
Gus Blaauw, Venus Bay.
We want our rates back