People power

Ed, Many thanks to the People, the Groups, and the local Businesses that worked together to successfully halt Council’s huge 37% rates rise application. IPART’s rejection of Council’s 37% rates rise application represents both a monetary and social boost for local People. Keeping all those millions of dollars of local money in local Peoples hands, offers the Valley’s economy much greater stimulus and a better economic outlook than increasing taxes. Socially, this victory represents a reminder that local People can work together to successfully achieve desired outcomes. IPART’s frequent mention of Council’s inadequate communication of their true financial state and their inadequate consultation with the community touches on some of the deeper malaise of Council’s current trajectory. Who knew that Council’s 37% tax increase was intended to provide them with an operating performance ratio surplus or that Council’s base case did not include mention of the additional 21.6 million dollars Council expects from their user charges and fees? In conclusion, IPART’s determination provides a clear and succinct note to any who care to listen that the claims made by Council about their $2.50 rates rise were both misleading and nothing more than fluff on their otherwise poor attempts to spin half-truths in support of their claims for our money. From page 15 of IPART’s determination: “the extra cost for average ratepayers was described as ‘under $2.50 a week’ and cumulative financial impacts were not mentioned.” After a long drawn out battle, People, from all across the Valley, can now sit down with the certainty that they can now afford that ‘cup of coffee a fortnight’. Best of all, the coming election is now a referendum on the rates rises. The outcome is now in the People’s hands. If you want huge rates rises, Vote 1 for those you are sure will provide them. If not, it is time to look for candidates with the ability to see more than the either/or options of tax increases or service reductions. John Hagger, The Clarence Forum