Re: ‘(Cr) Brown warns of $18.5 million Shire budget shortfall, Council calls for 3 per cent rate reduction’ (Sentinel-Times, June 4).
Please, let’s do away with the scaremongering Councillor Brown.
My submissions have been recognised as positives, embraced and for the time being, all that can be done, has been set in motion.
I ask Councillors Brown, Argento and Skinner to reconsider their negativity.
Each should consult the person who wrote their “Candidate Statement” prior to achieving success at the ballot box.
Relief must be offered to ratepayers, especially fixed low income constituents to ease the pain of excessive rate charges over many consecutive years.
For simplicity, let’s accept the $18.5 million loss in rate revenue over 15 year forward estimates Cr Brown refers to as a negative, is correct, (a 15 year forward estimate, how reliable is that?).
I agree with his postulation that the ratepayer money mentioned will stay in the pockets of ratepayers – that’s exactly what the 3 per cent proposed rate reduction for 2018/19 is intended to achieve.
The $30 million odd held by the Shire does exist. That is confirmed in the budget papers by the $500,000 (approx.) per annum earned in interest.
So, do not tell me the Shire cannot cover the $3.6 million bill for the 3 per cent reduction. There are no forward projects specified in the Budget papers costed against the $30 million held in liquid assets.
The thinking of Councillors Brown, Argento and Skinner, and I note the disparaging remarks attributed to Acting Finance Manager, Faith Page, follow the same line (not to mention the editors of the two major local newspapers), is skewed by the fact, they all totally overlook the offsetting effect on Council revenue of the “Growth for Rate Reduction (GfRR) Plan”.
That plan was “embraced” by Council at the Special Meeting held on May 29, 2019. Over a comparable timeframe, the additional revenue generated by GfRR will far outstrip any number Councillor Brown can think up! You were all there! Did you not understand the relationship between the two motions?
A commitment to a 3 per cent rates reduction means exactly that.
Do not muddy the waters by introducing into the conversation a 0 per cent rate increase.
The 2.5 per cent rate cap should not be interpreted as a right to an automatic increase each year. Drive revenue increases via the GfRR plan. Cut costs – but not services.
If you want credibility restored, you will have to earn it! The problem is, there is too much looking back and not enough focus on the future.
All shire predictions are based on the historic 1.3 per cent – 1.4 per cent rate of population increase.
If you folk believe our shire cannot do better than that, we are all wasting our time and the Shire can slumber on.
Think bigger!
John McCombe, Leongatha.