Cam­paigns heat up

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - BUSINESS -

WELL, we’re al­most there. The weeks of mount­ing prepa­ra­tion and ten­sions will soon break out onto the field as play­ers get se­ri­ously down to busi­ness.

Oh, you thought I meant the start of the AFL and rugby sea­sons!

No, the coun­cil elec­tions, due on March 19, have taken on some glad­i­a­to­rial aspects, not to any­one’s sur­prise, I’m sure.

This elec­tion in Dou­glas has shaped up along the fairly stan­dard is­sues of rates/costs/ser­vices, “trans­parency” and de­ci­sion mak­ing at coun­cil, and the ques­tion of more or less de­vel­op­ment.

The first of the cham­ber of com­merce’s meet-the-can­di­dates fo­rums is to­day in Port Dou­glas (next Tues­day in Moss­man) and prom­ises to be well at­tended and lively.

(And well done to the cham­ber for pro­vid­ing this com­mu­nity ser­vice at this time).

Var­i­ous plat­forms, not least an elec­tronic bill­board on Front St, Moss­man, have been pressed into ser­vice to raise the sup­posed mat­ter of a “22 per cent rate rise” (over four years). Some­one’s name stat­ing the au­tho­ri­sa­tion of the bill­board’s elec­tion­eer­ing state­ment would have been a rev­e­la­tion, since the same bill­board also rec­om­mends to vot­ers var­i­ous can­di­dates in what could be con­strued as a vot­ing ticket (not that group­ings of can­di­dates is il­le­gal if that’s what they want).

This week the coun­cil CEO, the mayor and some of the coun­cil­lors have writ­ten re­pu­di­a­tions of this sup­posed run­away rate hike.

The pub­lic will have to de­cide the mer­its of the re­spec­tive ar­gu­ments on this, along with all the other things, and there isn’t much time left.

It’s funny, but I don’t re­mem­ber any of the coun­cil­lors mak­ing a fuss of this fore­cast 5.2 per cent an­nual rate in­crease when the 2014 bud­get was unan­i­mously passed by coun­cil.

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