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Council rates and the “capping” conundrum.

August 11, 2015

dollar signsIt seems a simple and public-satisfying solution. A central, State Government “capping” control system for the rating system.

As the old saying goes…it looks OK in theory, but will it work in practice?

And the answer is an emphatic “NO”.

To mix a few metaphors, Unley Council has nailed its colours to the mast and given the concept thumbs down with a comprehensive catalogue of just what quicksands would litter the path to uniformity.

For a start there is the lack of responsiveness and accountability to communities, an erosion of community infrastructure as a drop in funding forces councils to underspend on infrastructure renewal, and an even greater impact of cost-shifting as services are withdrawn or reduced by State Government, with asset-related liabilities transferred and fees and charges set by the state are not indexed properly.

Also there needs to be an awareness of the diversity of Local Government and related services within the State, resulting in a differing cost base. This would mean there would be significant difficulty in setting an effective capping regime that was simple and appropriate to many councils. And the idea could be more detrimental to regional and rural councils.

It is also, Council says, anticipated that rate capping would adversely impact future replacement and maintenance of major infrastructure, including roads, drains, etc, while enterprise agreement arrangements with staff (future-based increases) would put a strain on councils’ ability to provide a financially sustainable environment.

Nobody likes rate rises, including the rate-paying Councillors who set them. It would remove a  whole lot of the personalised grizzling and criticism we get at rate-setting time. But that would be as nothing if the option to maintain services which most ratepayers consider essential were removed to State level!!!

Better the devil you know…

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Angela permalink
    August 12, 2015 10:29 am

    Gumpf!!! You say rate paying councillors. Joke!
    At a recent council meeting it was revealed that half of council are ‘pensioners’ who get a state subsidy on their rates.


    • cllrmikehudson permalink*
      August 12, 2015 1:55 pm

      Not this little duck. I’ve been a so-called “pensioner” for yonks, but MY property in Unley gets charged the full rates whack. And I don’t qualify for the pension either.. Double whammy, Angela! Your apology is accepted…
      P.s to Clarice. A BIT elderly? You’re too kind!


  2. Clarice permalink
    August 12, 2015 1:42 pm

    some of them do look a bit elderly, but I didn’t know that half were on concessions.
    I guess it is reflective of our ageing community.


  3. Trevor permalink
    August 12, 2015 4:56 pm

    I must say that Unley would benefit from having a few younger councillors onboard.
    And a few more women.


    • Jennie permalink
      August 13, 2015 6:10 am

      Agree. Definitely need more women. The boys’ club is too big.


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