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The Ratepayers Association of Victoria (RVI) in partnership with OurSay welcomes your feedback on the performance of you local council's consultation activities on rate capping policy.

Discuss your views below and complete the survey.

What is rate capping?

The Victorian State Government is committed to a policy of 'capping' local government rate increases at CPI to contain the cost of living and ensure greater accountability and transparency in local government.

Under the new system Councils can make an application to the Essential Services Commission (ESC) for an exemption from the cap. Councils wanting to increase rates beyond the cap will need to show how the views of ratepayers and the community have been taken into account.

Your feedback is important to help check that your council has properly engaged with you, as a ratepayer, that meets the Essential Services Commission (ESC)'s high standard of community engagement if and when a council applies for a variation from capped rates.

The Ratepayers Association of Victoria (RVI) in partnership with OurSay welcomes your feedback on the performance of you local council's consultation activities on rate capping policy.

Discuss your views below and complete the survey.

What is rate capping?

The Victorian State Government is committed to a policy of 'capping' local government rate increases at CPI to contain the cost of living and ensure greater accountability and transparency in local government.

Under the new system Councils can make an application to the Essential Services Commission (ESC) for an exemption from the cap. Councils wanting to increase rates beyond the cap will need to show how the views of ratepayers and the community have been taken into account.

Your feedback is important to help check that your council has properly engaged with you, as a ratepayer, that meets the Essential Services Commission (ESC)'s high standard of community engagement if and when a council applies for a variation from capped rates.

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Just WHY do we have rate capping, WHY do we have rate capping?
You might be surprised when I say that it is not because of the rise in rates, --- IS NOT, because of the rise in rates --- the bigger problem is, without a doubt, the budgeting process followed by most councils – I suspect all!

The Process is completely void of any of the Principles of the “CAT”: • C consultation (Collaboration is the purest form of ”C”) • A ccountability • T ransparency Generally, the budgeting process councils employ are arrogant and without collaboration, consultation or engagement, therefore, ratepayers have no confidence that the council is doing the right thing or making the right financial decisions. The process goes like this: • The councillors and officers lock themselves up in a conclave and invest thousands of hours developing the “draft” budget with no inputs from anyone. • The “draft” budget is then presented in a council meeting with 276 pages of notes. • The councillors, to show that they are on top of things, ask a few questions that they already know the answers to after their huge investment in the “draft” budget. • The public is not permitted to ask any questions. • The “draft” budget then goes to S223 submissions. • Submitters are allowed three minutes to make a presentation but can ask no questions about the budget. The S223 committee does not consist of all councillors. • The “council” then considers the S223 submissions and goes forward to develop the final budget. • Seldom are any items from the S223 submissions included in the final budget primarily because of the thousands of hours invested by councillors and officers in conclave who know best.   • Then the 276-page budget document is presented to council and approved. Sometime there is one or two who vote against it for political capital, being, as they know it will pass without their yes vote. • Then the Mayor/CEO spin-doctors go into full steam and tell one-and-all what a great job they did and how important the rate increase was. However, of course, nothing of substance is mentioned. • Then the rates go up significantly higher than any other sector (pensions for example). • Then Ratepayers get a little peeved when they see their rate bill. This, my friends, is the primary reason, THE PRIMARY REASON, we have rate capping today.

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Employee Expenses are way to high in relation to Rates Only Income. Executives salaries approved by councillors are far to much. Carry-Forward non-expensed budgeted items every year must be reported in full in the Annual Report with committed steps to reduce that revenue value to around $2M. The LGA 1989 section 125 should read the Council Plan can only be reviewed every 2 years. Cardinia changes every year creating uncertainty. The Act must force all council to produce three separate documents. The Council Plan & Council Plan Actions, the Strategic Resource Plan and the Budget. These 3 documents are to be electronically filed in councils data base so any person can google search any one of them. The Expenditure part of a budget must, must be expanded. Headings of :- All Contract costs, All Legal costs, All Consultant Fee's, All Insurance costs, Electricty & Water costs and Total expenditures by Councillors plus Training costs. Their must be more details provided by all councils when they report "Provisions" in any financial reports. The tendering process should be reviewed as some purchases by council are excessive compared to what a private person or company can purchase. All councillor attended meeting must be Audio recorded and made available to the public. Every year approved Council Plan & Council Plan Actions, Strategice Resource Plan and Budget must be published on the Know Your Council website and stored over years. The practice by councils to not disclose expenses if the revenue value is below $25,000 must be lowered to $5,000 as to many expense items are hidden. Best wishes and a Happy Easter.

People submitting ideas
Ingrid Crichton joe lenzo Chan Cheah Neville McIntyre peter peter Elizabeth de Mouton John Harley Ratepayers Victoria Graham Jolly Ron Jean