Council managing priorities well
Power and insurance costs rise faster than rates in past decade
have spent countless hours participating in and observing ordinary people make sensible decisions on your behalf. Decisions on upgrading infrastructural assets like roads or searching for affordable solutions for water and wastewater. I have also seen an endless stream of individuals and organisations coming to council trying to get us to support projects that they say the community can not do without. These decision-makers, the ones you elected, are often criticised for being ‘‘too old’’,’’ too male’’ or not ‘‘businesslike’’. Easy rocks to throw from people who do not come and watch the decision-making process. A process that is searching, well thought through and inclusive of the issues, like affordability, that face ratepayers. My impression is that a bunch of businesspeople in ‘‘swanky suits’’ would make similar decisions, because these decisions are the ones that need to be made on your behalf. What people seem to forget is that councils are not driven by profit, it is about collecting enough money to pay the bills and we spend 90 per cent of our funds within the district. While we may not think like a profit-driven business we are certainly businesslike in our approach. A recent survey carried out by the Red Cross indicated that many of you were worried about the continued rise in the cost of rates (84 per cent on my property in the past 10 years), a few of you were concerned about the increase in the cost of power (117 per cent) and none of you mentioned the increase in insurance premiums (140 per cent). All of these industries face the same dilemma of ageing infrastructure and paying for its replacement but the council is the easy one to criticise because we are visual and we are local. People always want council to support Tourism and Economic Development, to supply the best possible water or the best gravel roads. But no one wants rates rises. Well this is the year to do something about it. 2013 is election year so get involved, but bring your hard hat because there are no easy solutions.