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Most Ratepayers Don’t Rate

By Dan Hutton on July 29, 2011 in News

When are we the citizens going to revolt?

It’s time to stand up and tell the government just what we think and tell them “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this any more”.

We were told that we would get a desalination plant, despite intense objections from the community, coupled with record rainfalls in the past year that topped up every dam.

““There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead” was a classic statement from Australia’s ruling ranga.

The Greens are driving around in petrol guzzlers, while preaching to the masses about the problem of carbon emissions.

And the dictatorial rantings of the pollies aren’t just restricted to a federal level.

Those who live in the Waverley Municipality have recently been informed the rates are going to increase 14.5 per cent – the biggest rise by any council in the state. An increase Mayor Sally Betts says was undertaken with the consent of the ratepayers.

“Council had a sound case and we extensively consulted our community before making this application, which showed support for retaining and in some case enhancing our services,” Cr Betts said in a press release last month.

Well, as a Waverley Council ratepayer, I for one never received anything in the mail, or a phone call asking my opinion of a rate rise or how to enhance the council services.

So just who in the community was consulted?

It’s time the council explained just why they are still “$76 million short” to fully fund the Waverley Together 2 vision… whatever that is.

Where does all the money go?

Recently one local resident (name supplied) said he spent almost $70,000 of his own hard-earned to win approval to build a garage at his Bronte home.

He had to take the case to the Land and Environment Court because every time the issue was brought up at council it was put on hold and the time limit of his application to council eventually expired, forcing the case to go to a higher level.

According to the resident it was one of 19 cases lost by the council last year at a cost of just under $2 million. That money would go a long way toward “funding for better quality roads and footpaths”.

Getting cars off the street should be a priority, but if everyone had a driveway there wouldn’t be any room for people to park illegally and the council’s coffers would suffer from lack of parking fine revenue.

Residents on the western side of St Thomas Street, Bronte – between Gardyne and Macpherson Streets – have been pleading for years to be allowed to dig under the nature strip for resident parking.

Of course those pleas fell on deaf ears.

That was until two brand new homes were built halfway down the hill and – surprise, surprise – the development included underground parking with access through the nature strip, which rendered a public footpath unusable for two years.

Call me cynical, but there must have been a few extra dollars invested by the developer to get permission to pull that one off.

When the council is suddenly crying poor why then do they spend truck loads of cash turning Bondi Beach into a winter wonderland.

And what of the cost of turning it back into Bondi Beach when the ice age is over?

In times of trouble surely it’s best to pull the belt in a couple of notches and ride out the storm and spend money only on the bare essentials.

It’s time the council started working a lot more closely with the locals and listening to what they want instead of telling them what they are going to get.

A bit more consultation with the ratepayers will go a long way to helping that cause.