The following motion was moved last night by Acting Mayor Gail Giles-Gidney. It was adopted unanimously. Basically, Council is doing a backflip. It is trying to find savings before considering a Rate Variation:
Due to the work being undertaken by the General Manager and the Senior Management Team in undertaking a service review across the entire council to ascertain what organisational changes could be made to improve service delivery and where appropriate reduce costs to allocate back to asset improvements, council resolve not to make application for an increase to IPART for an increase in council’s rate revenue commencing in 2014/15.
Further the General Manager bring back a report by July 2014 outlining the preliminary results of the service review together with a list of cost saving and revenue raising opportunities across Council.
And, that in addition an updated long term financial plan together with a community consultation plan for a new application to IPART for a rate increase commencing in 2015/16 if required, also be bought back to council at the appropriate time to enable council to resolve this matter prior to December 2014.
In moving this minute I note that if this resolution is adopted the public meeting to be held on 4 February is to be cancelled and those who have contacted council indicating they will be attending will be advised tomorrow that the meeting has been cancelled and staff attend the Dougherty Centre to advise that the meeting is cancelled and no application to IPART will be made at this time.
The Council meeting on Feb 4 evening was called off because the councillors had decided not to apply for extra rates. Do you have inkling on the reason(s) for this decision?
The original proposal for the rate increase cam from the Officers, not Councillors. I think there are a couple of reasons it was decided not to proceed at this stage. I aslo think the Mayor Minute was most likely written by the GM.
1. Pat Reilly’s passing, resulting in a by-election. Either way I forsee this issue as a Mayoral election issue.
2. The decision to request a rate increase was made very late. You need time to articulate the benefits to the electorate as was done with e-restore and the roads levy.
3. Resident opposition. What is in it for them?
The alternative that they pursuing (looking to make savings) is doomed to fail. This has been tried before and failed. To make savings, services need to cut. Councillors are not prepared to wear the backlash.
All in all, resolving this issue will prove interesting.
Council has a $28M infrastructure maintenance backlog. It has been stated that if rates weren’t increased that the community risked losing aged services, youth services and immunisation programs as well as facing significant increases in fees for sport and recreation facilities/ Previously Council Officers had recommended that Council get out of childcare services that cost Council over $1M per annum.