Hyams moved motion to accept ‘as printed’ – (ie not to do anything for a year or two!) Delahunty seconded.

HYAMS: said his request for a report was the result of ratecapping coming in and therefore reducing the amount of money ‘we would require’ to fulfil the Open Space Strategy recommendations. Said that it ‘was always intended’ that rates would ‘fund more than half’ of what was required.  Population however has increased, ‘especially in McKinnon’ where the strategy stated there would be a decline. Thus ‘once the census figures are in which will be later this year’ they could ‘recalculate based on those’ new figures.  Also said that ‘no other council’ has the high uniform rate that Glen Eira has.

DELAHUNTY:  said that the ‘premise’ that council used to argue for 5.7% ‘has changed’ because of population growth and ‘our ability to resource what we actually wanted to do’.  Therefore she thinks that it is council’s ‘obligation’ to review the levy. They need the census data to ‘add weight to what I already think is a pretty watertight argument’.

PILLING: agreed that ‘times have changed’ and limited their ability to raise funds because of rate capping. Said that raising the levy is ‘worth looking at but we need to do it properly’.  Stated that the data should ‘take 6 months to come out’ so that would be ‘early 2017’.

HYAMS: said they went through an ‘exhaustive process’ in justifying the levy. Also said that ‘we would have received’ another million dollars ‘had the planning scheme not been held up by what ultimately turned out to be pointless objections’ which ‘delayed’ things by 9 months.

MOTION PUT AND CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY

COMMENT

  • How many millions is council foregoing by deciding to wait instead of instigating the process for a higher levy now?
  • How many more times will Hyams be allowed to get away with misrepresenting the facts – ie. the Census website clearly states that data will be released ‘from mid 2017’ and certainly NOT ‘later this year’ as he claims.
  • How ironic that every single point made by the objectors to a levy of only 5.7% is now vindicated?
  • Parts of St. Aubins Avenue and Fosbery Street are now in council’s sights to close off the street and construct some ‘open space’. What analysis has been undertaken to ensure that council is getting ‘value for money’ from its previous street closures – ie Eskdale Road ( a stone’s throw from Caulfield Park) and another in Elsternwick? How much have these conversions cost? What is the total size? How much of these ‘open spaces’ are covered in concrete? The crucial question of course is – would residents be better served by the purchase of bona fide areas of new open space that do provide the space required for multi-purpose use?

As an illustration of council’s sheer profligacy, and unbelievable decision making, we feature these photographs taken in the last week. Readers will note that a bench, on a relatively small concrete base already exists. So council has now come along and doubled the size of the concrete – presumably to move the existing seat two metres to the left! How much did this new endeavour cost for a council screaming blue murder over ratecapping and the need for frugality? Who made such a decision? How on earth can it ever be justified?

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