I was dumbstruck when I read in the SGST of 24/12/2019 that the Bass Coast Shire Council will work within a 2 per cent rate cap set by the State Government.
Council CEO Ali Wastie said: “We will continue to deliver our services to the Bass Coast community and visitors within the 2 per cent rate cap in the 2020-21 financial year. This cements our long-term financial goals and maintains our position as one of the lowest-rating and lowest-spending Councils amongst similar Victorian Councils.”
This is ridiculous.
The lowest-spending Council is not a legacy to be proud of when we’ve got $600 million in outstanding infrastructure works in this shire.
As I keep saying, infrastructure investment does more than fix the potholes – it provides local jobs for our community. It is an investment in our community.
I’m also not aware that the promised community consultation on the budget ever occurred before this seemingly arbitrary decision was made.
I had been told in a letter from the Council that they would review their rating strategy ahead of the 2020-21 Budget, and community input into that review would be welcomed. Apparently, this policy has changed.
To quote Councillor Les Larke in the SGST of 10/12/2019: “I encourage residents and ratepayers to get actively involved in the upcoming Budget discussions and submissions, and emphasise that our community has the right to be heard loudly and clearly about Council’s Budget priorities.”
So as usual, council has made up its mind already, and will simply rubber stamp it, rather than talk to us Bass Coast residents about what we want the rates we pay for, spent on.
Frank Schooneveldt, Wonthaggi.