For Immediate Release 1 November 2022
Authorised by Councillor Brian Ingram
It has been disappointing to have a motion that I’ve put to council rejected twice in the last few months. The motion was asking for Council to undertake a business case to assess whether the merger of the former Young/Harden/Boorowa Councils has been a success or a failure.
If the accumulated deficits of $50 million dollars over the last 6 years and the decline in levels of service are to be used as indicators you would have to assume that it has not worked and you would be correct, it has been a total failure (in my opinion).
A fellow Councillor has also had a motion fail when he asked Councillors to allow YOU, THE COMMUNITY to have a say by way of holding a plebiscite on whether the merged Council should remain in place or ask for it to be demerged. The Councillors voting against these motions I believe are doing YOU, THE COMMUNITY a great injustice.
Back to the failed merger, it is clear to the majority of residents that the service levels have declined significantly, while staff try hard the task is just too large for Hilltops Council.
Financially, Council has used up all its reserves and to remain ‘afloat’ will need to garner more revenue. This will see Council asking to implement a SRV (Special Rate Variation) which could see your rates rise by 60-80% or more in the next 3-4 years. In simply term if you are paying $2,500 in rates now a 70% increase would add over $1,700 to your bill, increasing them to $4,200.
To add to this further there will be increases to your water and sewer connection fees and user charges. So, what can you expect for these increased charges, the answer is LESS than what you are receiving now. The service levels will continue to decline as the task and increasing costs of providing such services to such a large and diverse Council area is too great for the merged Council.
Ratepayers of the former Young Shire Council will also be expected to pay extra for their water and sewer charges to subsidise the necessary improvements to the water supply at Boorowa and an upgrade to the sewer plant in Harden. Keep in mind that the new sewerage treatment plant and upgrades to the water and sewer network in Young are being funded solely by the ratepayers of Young.
If you are happy for this to happen then all you need to do is NOTHING, but if you, like me, think this is not a sustainable or reasonable outcome and particularly harsh if you reside in the former Young Council area you need to CONTACT the councillors who are refusing to give YOU, THE COMMUNITY a say in your future. Those Councillors are Roles, Foreman, Hewson, Mackay, Piper, Dodd, and FitzGerald, and let them know.
Councillor Brian Ingram