Sadly, we all know that many local residents leave their decision on which Mayor or Councillors to vote for as they make those final few steps to the voting booth, pencil in hand, once every four years. They probably give more thought to that night’s dinner.
But what if they could see the ripples of their decision spreading out for the entire four years of the Council they have a part in electing, the effect on rates, services and the look and feel of their entire community? What if they were voting for their livelihood?
It’s important for us to look beyond the short term and think of a Council as a four year appointment, much longer if you understand the power of incumbency for those who make the cut.
So let’s take a quick snapshot of the full four years of this Council’s financial management. What did we get for our vote, and our rate money?
There is another highlight that the Council is not responsible for. That’s the unprecedented flood of grant money received from State and Federal Governments over the last 3 years.
The tens of millions of additional grant funds were to assist the community to recover from Covid and natural disasters of fire and flood.
Many in our community will be puzzled by Council imposing such large increases in rates during their four-year term on top of the ‘river of gold’ from Brisbane and Canberra. Especially when so much of it has simply been banked.
Some ratepayers will no doubt form a view about what value they are getting for all the revenue pouring into council coffers over recent years.
The fact that even the last budget increased total general rates by 8% while the council is sitting on huge cash reserves is telling. Particularly when there have been statements from Council acknowledging that many ratepayers are doing it tough.
As for the budget consultation experiment…well, it has been a failure in the eyes of most of those who participated. Anyone who submitted serious reasons for greater financial responsibility was ignored.
In the months ahead, Noosa Matters will be taking snapshots of other areas of this Council’s performance, now that we’ve had nearly four years to watch, compare and judge.