More trans­parency on the cards

RATEPAY­ERS WILL GET DE­TAILED FUND­ING BREAK­DOWN

Cockburn Gazette - - NEWS - Bryce Luff

THE CITY of Cock­burn is con­sid­er­ing a pro­posal to make it eas­ier for ratepay­ers to see where their money is go­ing.

Un­der sug­ges­tions from Mayor Lo­gan Howlett, the dol­lar fig­ure levied on ratepay­ers by the coun­cil, the State Govern­ment and the Fed­eral Govern­ment would be in­cluded on rate no­tices as sep­a­rate fig­ures.

It would be a vol­un­tary mea­sure no other coun­cil has taken, ac­cord­ing to Cock­burn’s fi­nance and cor­po­rate ser­vices di­rec­tor Stu­art Down­ing.

The City would also change the way in­for­ma­tion is shown in the City’s rates in­for­ma­tion brochure and would im­prove com­mu­nity en­gage­ment be­fore the rates ob­jects and rea­sons no­tice was fi­nalised.

“Lo­cal govern­ment be­ing the third tier is con­stantly sub­ject to cost shift­ing as the State and Fed­eral gov­ern­ments seek to cut costs to re­duce their re­spec­tive bud­get deficits,” Mr Down­ing said.

“The need to en­sure that the com­mu­nity sees the rate-set­ting process as fair, eq­ui­table and trans­par­ent is paramount if con­fi­dence is to be main­tained in not only spend­ing ratepay­ers’ funds but also in col­lect­ing rates and other charges.”

The pro­posal was backed by coun­cil­lors at the City’s or­di­nary coun­cil meet­ing two weeks ago.

The City will now seek sup­port from the WA Lo­cal Govern­ment As­so­ci­a­tion.

“The City’s aim is for Walga to do the lob­by­ing across the sec­tor so that the sec­tor can be seen as more trans­par­ent and not just one or two coun­cils who have taken the bit be­tween their teeth over the mat­ter,” Mr Howlett said.

“We would be dis­ap­pointed if this did not spark in­tense de­bate amongst the mem­bers of Walga.”

Walga pres­i­dent Lynne Craigie said they had taken Cock­burn’s sug­ges­tions on board.

“In terms of any state-wide pol­icy po­si­tion or com­mu­ni­ca­tions ac­tiv­ity, we will be guided by our mem­bers as to their wishes and look for­ward to re­ceiv­ing feed­back and di­rec­tion through our zones and state coun­cil gov­er­nance process to ar­rive at an ap- pro­pri­ate course of ac­tion,” she said.

“In ad­di­tion, Walga is cur­rently en­gaged in a work­ing group with the Depart­ment of Lo­cal Govern­ment which is look­ing at ways in which to pro­vide bet­ter in­for­ma­tion to the com­mu­nity on rat­ing pro­cesses and out­comes.”

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Lo­gan Howlett

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