Council rates verses council services is always the question at this time of year. As always the press has been beating up on us for what they call a cash grab.
We are an easy target at this time of year and the impression is we are making money out of our rate payers just for the sake of it.
What is not reported on however is what Councils are providing for the rates they collect in favour of we waste money on a range of services that are not needed. This year Unley has been targeted in the rantings of the press as planning to increase its rates revenue by 59.1 per cent over the next decade.
On Monday night we deliberate on our business plan and the rate increase needed achieve it. We look like we are going to hold it down to 3.5% this year, down from the 4.10% we felt may have been necessary before putting the final touches to our budget. Not only therefore is the figure quoted by the press incorrect but the article also did not differentiate between rate increases and rates growth (through new development etc).
While rates are subject to fluctuation, the most accurate and current predictions for the next decade are:
• A rate increases of 44.2 per cent (providing additional revenue of $15.2m)
• Rate growth of 5.95 per cent (providing additional revenue of $2.1m)
The other side of this equation of council rates verses council services of course is what level of services should we provide. This year we surveyed our ratepayers on this very question and Council receives this report on Monday night.
Reading through the report I draw the conclusion that our community is very positive about both performance and the service offering provided by Council and overall, there is a strong sense of value for money indicated by both the residents and businesses community.
A far cry from what the press is attempting to have you believe.
A big thank you to those who participated.