Rates, roads in spot­light

The Gazette (Derwent Valley) - - NEWS - JAMES KITTO

THE Der­went Val­ley Coun­cil needs to fo­cus on op­er­at­ing within a bud­get that won’t send rates higher than the con­sumer price in­dex, may­oral can­di­date Phillip Bin­g­ley says.

Mr Bin­g­ley, a re­tired lo­cal gov­ern­ment of­fi­cer from Lach­lan who has 38 years ex­pe­ri­ence with coun­cils, is stand­ing for Der­went Val­ley Mayor in the up­com­ing lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions with two main con­cerns.

“I have be­come very frus­trated with ba­sic ser­vice providers like coun­cils, elec­tric­ity, wa­ter and sewage sup­pli­ers an­nu­ally jack­ing up their rates above CPI, which has in­creased the fi­nan­cial strain on ratepay­ers,” he said.

“The Ho­bart CPI for 2017 was 2.1 per cent and yet our coun­cil in­creased this year’s rates by 5.8 per cent — enough is enough.”

Mr Bin­g­ley said Der­went Val­ley roads needed a ma­jor over­haul.

“I be­lieve ru­ral-res­i­den­tial ar­eas have been ne­glected and I will only sup­port an an­nual bud­get that has at least $250,000 al­lo­cated to im­prove and seal roads in ar­eas like Lach­lan, Molesworth and Ma­gra,” he said.

“Hav­ing good roads presents the town well. Bro­ken-up roads are such a poor im­age for a mu­nic­i­pal­ity that is tourism-fo­cused. The roads are part of what sig­ni­fies how the area is track­ing.”

Mr Bin­g­ley said if elected, he would move that the coun­cil adopt a pol­icy to see all fu­ture rate in­creases be capped at a max­i­mum of the yearly CPI.

“Keep­ing rate in­creases to a CPI max­i­mum would send a clear mes­sage to coun­cil man­age­ment that they must re­strain and pri­ori­tise spend­ing to es­sen­tial ser­vices such as good roads, well main­tained parks, sports grounds, and ef­fi­cient waste man­age­ment sys­tems,” he said.

Der­went Val­ley Mayor Mar­tyn Evans told the Gazette in July the rate rise was due to the cost of flood dam­age re­pairs, the loss of div­i­dends from TasWater and pay in­creases for staff.

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