Welcome to another weekly wrap.
This week was dominated by Warrnambool City Council wanting to lift rates beyond the state government imposed cap for the next three years.
The reaction was predictably one of anger from ratepayers. The council has vowed to consult with ratepayers but the revelation it will spend up to $30,000 on consultants to gather feedback only added fuel to the fire. While the council’s reasons were understandable – transparency and independence, it needed to inform and consult before making the decision to seek the Essential Services Commission’s exemption. It needed to ask the tough questions behind its decision to attempt to increase rates: what do ratepayers expect from council? If we are to live within our means and not increase rates, which services would you pay more for? Which services would you cut, if necessary? And then based on that feedback, council could have had an informed vote on several options.
In other developments this week, the long-awaited state election result was finalised and while Roma Britnell was re-elected in the seat of South West Coast, she was put on notice with her margin significantly reduced.
Here’s a few other stories that shaped the week.