Our View (26-6-2018): Rate rise merry-go-round

ANOTHER week, and another story about council rates courtesy of Yorke Peninsula Council.

While Barunga West Council has locked in an average increase of 4.75 per cent and Copper Coast Council appears to have settled on a 3.8 per cent average rise, the pendulum at YPC has swung wildly.

Councillor Alan Headon has now called to rescind the June 13 motion to increase rates by an average of 4.8 per cent, which means elected members will return to the chamber tomorrow night (Wednesday).

Council will consider striking that motion and, if successful, voting on the merits of the new recommendation he has put forward.

Calling for a fairer option for residential ratepayers, Cr Headon is proposing an overall general rate increase of 5.5 per cent, with residential rates capped at four per cent.

If it goes through this would add about $116,000 to council’s bottom line, after the June 13 decision left a $338,000 hole in the YPC budget. Of course since June 13 the state government has announced it will push ahead with pre-election plans to introduce rate capping, which adds another element to the saga.

Last time around the rate debate was certainly emotionally charged, and one wonders what’s going to be in store for those in the gallery tomorrow night.

There is no doubt this issue has caused divisions within the elected body.

As part of my job I have observed and reported on countless YPC meetings during the tenure of two mayors, three CEOs and numerous councillors.

In the end it’s basically all about balancing a budget which provides the best possible outcomes for all ratepayers – we are after all the ones who provided a good proportion of the dollars in the first place. It is time for council to make a decision and stick to it.

And, at the end of the day, whichever way the vote goes, once this is done YPC’s elected members must sit down and work together, not only for the community they were elected to represent but for the greater good of the whole area.

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