Firstly, all concerned should be getting on with ‘business as usual’ in South Gippsland Shire (SGS), whatever our personal views may be regarding past performance. We work with what we have to work with!
At the end of the submission review process, I want to see the clear commitment to an overall 3 per cent rate reduction by 2021 honoured this year, instead of pushing it out to actioning within the next 10 years, as is currently proposed.
Constituents need relief now! I have a petition with 400+ signatories lodged to support my submissions.
Ms Marie Gerrard-Staton lodged a very specific, probing question, re-honouring this commitment on 24 April, 2019 at about 10am.
By the time the question was responded to by Mayor Cr Hill at about 2pm, it had been sanitised into a question that had little resemblance to the question actually lodged.
So whose question was responded to? The process then resulted in a ‘Sir Humphrey Appleby’ like answer.
Note, Council espouses an openness and transparency policy.
Given the tone of well attended, ‘Rate Reduction’ meetings held around the Shire (at least four Councillors interacted), there is a wide community expectation the rate reduction commitment will be honoured.
Here’s just one interview that helped create those expectations: “We have tonnes of money lying around in investments and as cash and we are charging people rates higher than we need to” said Cr Hill.
He also said the Shire didn’t need a 15 per cent surplus each year and could introduce a negative rate change in the next few years without impacting service levels.
The Council could do something ‘quite revolutionary’ in the next year, he said (Ref. Sentinel-Times, October 23, 2018).
Note: Mayor Cr Don Hill, a former head Maths teacher, was appointed to the Mayoral role within one month of this interview.
Come on Councillors, your world won’t collapse if you come to the party this year!
Clearly a challenge: however: with a re-vitalised administration behind you, it can be done!
John McCombe, Leongatha.