Letters

Council rates

Ed,
I have been watching the construction of the roundabout at the intersection of Coldstream and River Streets, Yamba with some interest.
The roundabout was constructed and the road around it compacted and temporarily sealed some 4 weeks ago. There was no coordination with whoever was to place the final road surface on the roundabout, and so during the intervening weeks Council workers returned on more than one occasion to put additional layers of crushed rock on the road, I assume to keep it sealed until the final tar road surface is installed. Then after recent rain the surface was largely destroyed, with large potholes, which will require filling and re-compacting. Poor management of this relatively small project has no doubt resulted in wasted money and delays to motorists in the area. This is just one example of a Council which to me appears to be poorly run, unable to manage infrastructure projects efficiently, and which is out of touch with its ratepayers (their customers).
Councillors, who we voted in on the premise they would not increase rates, are now asking us for advice how to balance finances while maintaining services. This is their job, and presumably the reason they stood for these councillor positions in the first place. Cut services, cut staff and operating expenses, become more efficient, and balance the books with what income you have. Remember that over 70% of CVC ratepayers have already told you that “under no circumstances would they support any special rate increase”. Of course ratepayers don’t want to lose services, but they certainly “don’t want to pay an additional 25% to keep them”. If you don’t believe this, simply ask that question of ratepayers. Not simply “what services would you agree to lose”?
We ordinary ratepayers only occasionally get the opportunity to truly have a say on running of Councils and it occurs at Council election time. I, and many others, voted for councillors based on what they said they would do (mostly that was “no increase in rates”). I for one expect all councillors to honour their commitments in this regard. Otherwise what is the point of democratic elections in this country; where you vote for someone based on what they say they will do and their principals, only to have them totally change these principals after they are elected?
I understand this is not easy, and may not indeed be possible with current Council staff and management practices. The NSW State Government also has blood on its hands in this matter, funding councils based on population, with little consideration for the large land area with extensive roads and bridges. However, simply taking more money off already over charged ratepayers (we already have some of the highest council rates in Australia) is in effect harming the people the Council purports to support, and goes against the principles most councillors were elected on.
Robert Finch,
Yamba

 

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