Administrator's Column - Why Should We Pay? - January 18

Date

Monday, 18 January 2021

Release

This week I want to address the frustration and anger felt about a possible rate increase.

WHY SHOULD WE HAVE TO PAY - is a common theme in letters and emails from ratepayers.

As ratepayers you are ‘the shareholders’ of the Council. There is no one else who will or should contribute to fixing the financial mess we’re in.

Some call on the former councillors to pay. Not possible. The amount vastly exceeds their personal wealth, and secondly, there is no legal path for this to happen.

Others suggest the State Government should pay because they forced the merger. As made clear in my 30-day report, the merger had a very minor role in blowing out Council’s budget. The State Government will not accept responsibility for the financial mess created by the councillors elected and the CEO they appointed.

The ‘turnaround’ plan Mr Hart and I are putting in place will give a balanced budget next year and deliver small surpluses thereafter to start paying off our debt.

This plan involves cutting costs more than raising revenue. It avoids closing existing services.

The rate increase proposal is now out for public consultation. If IPART approves the increase, when combined with harmonising rates between former Gosford and Wyong, average rate increase for former Gosford will be around $7pw, and former Wyong average rate will decrease by about $3pw.

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Last updated : Mon 18 Jan 2021