‘SCARE­MON­GER­ING’

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - BUSINESS -

There has been much dis­cus­sion about a 5.20 per cent rate rise ev­ery year for four years un­til a to­tal of 22.5 per cent.

Let me make this clear, it is scare­mon­ger­ing – I’ll ex­plain why.

The hy­po­thet­i­cal 5.20 per cent was a com­puter gen­er­ated model in an at­tempt to work out the first bud­gets, many other per­cent­ages were looked at also. After de-amal­ga­ma­tion there was no fi­nan­cial data from which to hy­poth­e­sise a plan to carry Dou­glas Shire out of debt that was in­curred due to de-amal­ga­ma­tion.

The rev­enue was un­known, the ex­penses were un­known, only the amount of debt was known. Us­ing best guess es­ti­mates of the un­known data it was be­lieved that pos­si­bly to bring the shire back into sur­plus in 5/6 years, rate rises of 5+ per cent would be nec­es­sary.

Now the truth; the first bud­get rate rise 0 per cent (6mth 2014), sec­ond bud­get 5.2 per cent (2014/15), third bud­get 3.9 per cent (2015/16).

Bud­gets are de­cided yearly be­cause rev­enue and ex­pen­di­ture change yearly. As an ex­am­ple, if 10 000 new houses are built then rev­enue in­creases sig­nif­i­cantly with­out in­creas­ing in­di­vid­ual rate pay­ments. With im­prov­ing tech­nolo­gies and bet­ter prac­tices it is also pos­si­ble that there are yearly de­creases in ex­pen­di­ture.

There has never been any coun­cil res­o­lu­tion that says there will be a 5.20 per cent rate rise for 4 years. The bud­get is de­cided yearly and if some­one tries to tell you other­wise it is in­cor­rect.

If a can­di­date prom­ises no rate rises for their 4 year term, please ask them some ques­tions;

• Ask them if they value the shire and want long term fi­nan­cial sta­bil­ity - be­cause it will never get out of debt.

• Ask them to roughly out­line a plan as to how they will come up with a bud­get that bal­ances.

I am NOT en­dors­ing any one par­tic­u­lar rate rise per­cent­age. I am ex­plain­ing that noth­ing can be pre­dicted be­fore full bud­get de­lib­er­a­tions are started and ac­cu­rate fig­ures can be com­piled.

I hope this has made things clearer.

Abi­gail Noli, coun­cil­lor

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