Why should we pay for the misdeeds of others?

Forum –

Despite a whopping 75 per cent of Central Coast ratepayers responding to a Council survey declaring they want no rate rise to pay for catastrophic Council debts not of ratepayers’ making, the Council is making submission to IPART (the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal) for the highest gouge on ratepayers: 15 per cent.

Council is misleadingly calling this a ‘one-off’ permanent, seemingly intended to lull ratepayers into thinking the increase will apply for one year, then revert back to the previous rate level.

There is nothing one-off about it; it is permanent.

That 15 per cent (if approved) is to be applied from next year and then embedded as a regular part of our rates every year.

Other rises will be on top of that.

We are being asked – no, not asked, ordered – to pay for the misdeeds of others forever.

It is (to replace) the reasonable 2 per cent rate peg increase allowed by IPART (without a rate variation).

Former Gosford Council ratepayers will also pay an increase in what is called a ‘rate harmonisation’ (sounds sweet, eh?) so that former Wyong Council ratepayers get a rate reduction.

Why would we ever bother responding to a Council survey again when we are totally ignored?

Survey respondents also wanted an independent person to oversee the finances.

If that person is recruited with the same shockingly poor judgement as the previous highly paid Council staff who got us into this mess, why would we have confidence they would have any more financial competence or integrity?

It will just be another big salary we have to pay for, on top of all the rest of the mess we are being made to pay to get out of.

What if we refuse to pay the 15 per cent rate increase?

Call me old-fashioned, but I think those responsible should pay: NSW Government for failings of the Audit Office whose responsibility it was to expose unlawful Council spending and escalating debt over several years, and those in Council who behaved unlawfully.

We should not pay for misdeeds of others: innocent ratepayers who have paid our rates and taxes in good faith in the reasonable belief we are protected from ending up in such a situation.

Email, Feb 20
Irma Havlicek, Umina Beach