After reading Councillor Ingram’s column on 31 October, I feel we should ask ourselves another question.
If there is no rate increase, what services do we wish to have reduced or do without altogether?
At this point, Councillors have not discussed any percentage increase at all.
The main thing we have to keep in mind is that if there is an increase it isn’t applied to the whole rate charge (which is the larger figure) but rather on the residential rate – ordinary.
If you attended the Special Rate Variation meetings conducted by Council throughout the Hilltops region, you will understand the reasons for the possible rate increase; Council receives an income from rates, but then it has outgoings to provide services to the region.
The income is significantly less than expenditure.
The State Government permits the Council to increase the rates by a certain percentage this year but this percentage, when considering the erosion by the higher rate of inflation, means the Council is going further into debt.
Special projects in the region are often funded by Federal or State grants but they are for particular projects not for the day to day provision of Council services.
The services provided by the Council through the collection of the residential rate – ordinary include library services, park maintenance, pools and roads.
If there is no rate rise, some of these services may be affected. Council has been working hard to improve their efficiency and will continue to work toward this goal.
As we consider the possible rate rise, we need to take into account all perspectives and the possible effect on the provision of Council services.
Councillor John Piper
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