I agree that a rate rise of 35 per cent is unjustifiable and unreasonable and that it will cause many people of the Bega Valley to struggle financially. The Bega Valley Shire Council needs to look for other ways to fund the shortfall - cutting services and costs (but then there will other complaints) and raising other fees eg parking fines are some suggestions.
The council generously waived fees for victims of the 2020 fires for development applications, for BASIX fees, for reconnecting water meters damaged by the fires, for sewerage and water fees, for lost library books and the list goes on, reducing the council's income for 2020. These and other financial decisions that have resulted in the present financial state were made by the previous councillors and mayor.
It is now up to the present councillors to make wise decisions regarding income and expenditure that benefits everyone in the Valley. This should not be a 35 per cent increase, but perhaps a smaller one now and again in two years, coupled with service and costs reductions.
Kerry Packer's statement to parliament pretty much sums up how I feel about council's latest cash grab with a 35 per cent hike in rates. Just substitute rates for the word taxes.
"And if anybody in this country doesn't minimise their tax, they want they their head read. Because, as a government, I can tell you, you're not spending it that well that we should be donating extra."
A 35 per cent rate hike represents $630pa to me. In 2016 there were 17570 residences in Bega Valley Shire. Multiply that by my rate rise and you are looking at $11,069,100. Also what needs to be taken into account is that many many residences due to valuations are paying rates much higher than mine.
On top of that all of the businesses in Bega Valley are paying a motza in rates already.
If this 35 per cent rise is granted all the residents of Bega Valley Shire already doing it tough from bushfires, floods, COVID and huge cost of living increases will be in dire straits.
All councillors need to walk a mile in the shoes of the disadvantaged in our community before making decisions as insensitive as this one.
Following sailing from Melbourne to Eden I became seriously ill while moored in Twofold Bay. Following a 000 call, the Eden Water Police along with local ambulance staff medivaced me from our boat. From there I was transferred to the Bega hospital.
The Water Police have cared for our boat in our absence and daily followed up with caring calls to inquire of my health. Their support has been beyond anything one could reasonably expect and most certainly will not be forgotten by us as they relieved the stress we felt of leaving our much loved floating home unattended.
As I guess we the public have come to expect, the two ambulance crews who attended to me provided both emotional support and medical care as I squirmed like a worm on a hook with pain.
They distracted me with humour (although some of their jokes may need upgrading) staying with me until I could be transferred into the hospital's care. Surely these people deserve greater recognition than they currently receive.
What can I say about the Bega Hospital as I am now on the cusp of my recovery? Tears well up as I think about how they have guided me back from a perilous position to health. Whether cleaning staff, doctors, catering, nursing - everyone has treated me with sensitivity, with professionalism and a warmth far beyond what one could hope for. Truly the local community can deservedly be proud of those who care for them and protect them. Thank you!
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