Council Budgets will be accepted in coming weeks and Yankalilla, Alexandrina and Victor Harbor have been holding community information forums for ratepayers to attend and more importantly have their say.
Fantastic initiative by the councils, but how about the response from the various communities?
The District Council of Yankalilla is proposing a rate increase of 2.2 per cent and held six public meetings with more than 100 people attending, Alexandrina Council has a proposed 3.6 per cent rate increase and had only four people attend their meeting and the City of Victor Harbor is proposing an increase of 3.5 per cent and had 13 attend a public meeting.
This is a very poor result when you consider everyone will be affected by a rate rise, especially when it is going to be more than a three per cent hike. District Council of Yankalilla mayor Glen Rowlands said the budget review has been “clear sailing so far”, but was disappointed with the roll out of ratepayers at their meetings.
“At the one held in Yankalilla we only had four or five people attend and this is not a good result for such an important document,” he said.
What is hard to understand is the poor showing at Alexandrina Council when a rate rise is forecast to be as high as 3.6 per cent. Why won’t a community attend a public meeting to ask questions such as what will I get for a 3.6 per cent increase in my rates?
Is it apathy or is it a sense of uselessness, in that it does not matter what is said, council will do it anyway?
It could be a little of both, as confidence in the bureaucratic processes of council decision making has disenchanted many in the community.
Hopefully trust and re-engagement can be built in the next 12 months at all councils on the Fleurieu, as that is what is required if we are to continue to have a vibrant and thriving community.
In November we get the opportunity to vote in a new set of councillors and mayors and it will be up to them to work with administration, not against, to deliver services the community needs.
Council does a lot of good things and serves the community well on many important issues. It takes two to dance, so when it came to having input in respective council budgets, it was the community who did not want to step up on the floor.
Council did their bit!