Willoughby Council is currently consulting on a proposed Special Rate Variation (SRV). A SRV will mean an increase in rates to fund the maintenance and replacement of Willoughby’s enormous infrastructure network.
The reason Council is considering applying to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) for a SRV is that Council’s Long Term Financial Plan has identified that more funds are required to maintain assets and services to the level expected by the community, while at the same time ensuring Council’s financial sustainability.
You can read the cases FOR and AGAINST the Special Rate
Make sure to read the second page of the brochure.
It is obvious that Council needs to do something about the asset maintenance backlog. However, the rate increases proposed are quite high. I would prefer Council perhaps to seek a ‘mid-point’ increase. This might ensure Council identifies its ‘core business’ and reviews its spending on social services.
Another concern is with a high ‘front-end’ SRV. Council’s ability to achieve spending the money and producing tangible outcomes in the short term. Ratepayers might support Council if it can demonstrate that they can actually spend the money according to a long term plan. So perhaps consider going back for a second SRV in 2 or 3 years time.
As a rate payer of 30 years I am appalled that the council is now threatening to cut basic requirement supplied by the council. This situation can only have occurred due to bad management. The basic infustructure of the municipality has always been the responsibility of the council, unlike many of the ‘extras’ our rates have been squandered on.
We were promised that the Concourse would not affect out rates, prior to its construction. The previous council buildings on this site were not that old and could have been upgraded within our budget. We all have to live within our means. The new building is not inviting to visitors to Chatswood due to the large bank of stairs and mostly being above street view. The open space is hidden behind a restaurant and shops, it also has a large hole in the ground! We don’t need an oversized TV screen without sound as there are too many screens to look at as it is. Kids and adults should be able to use an inviting open space to burn off some energy, have a picnic or meeting place etc. As it is, most people just walk straight past it, or just stare like zombies at a silent oversized TV screen without interacting. It should only be uses for special events. What is the cost to run this thing day and night? The old lawn was much more usable and appealing. For the massive expense on the redevelopment it is not much of an improvement for the rate payers.
The council recently replaced every green bin with one exactly the same, regardless of their condition. I assume that the rate payers incurred this unnecessary expense.
The council really needs to have a “Razor Gang” to cut wastage on, oddball grants, staff and hangers on expenses, any travel outside the municipality, empty resources and all expenses that do provide just the basic council requirements to the ratepayer, before asking to increase the rates.
I suppose this suggestion will at best, only result in rounds of meeting and reports, then conclude nothing be done. I am certain if you trimmed the fat we would not be asked to choose between ‘option 1 & 2’. If I had to choose, it would be unfortunately Option 1 with a very good Council shake up!
We all have budgets to manage and if your rate payers lived beyond their means, they would also go bust and have to remove themselves from this area. Please do your job properly before being distracted with the ‘extras’ then saying it is our choice.