The Melbourne City Council has published its budget which shows an eight percent increase in Council rates and income. With CPI recorded at 4% that's a net 4% increase in Council rates.
BUT the council figures have been though the Council Finance laundry and the whites look whiter then white.
Here are some of the tricks they try
The budget comparison is based on the mid year review of last years budget. The Council underestimates the income and low and behold come mid year review there is more money received then they expected. The mid year budget is revised and the Council spends the win-fall which is then used to set the bench line in the following years budget.
In spite a recommendation by the Council Auditors the City Council has not listed a budget allocation for overseas trips and Council expenses. They have an open check as the costs of Councillors expenditure is concealed in the overall expenses.
Prior to the Kennet financial review the Council was required to publish a full detail budget./ Nowe they just published the minimum. Previously;y the Council cam under criticism for printing what was considered to be a City size telephone book budget. Many trees dies to publish this document. Now we have the Internet there is no real reason why the Council does not publish the full breakdown. It could be that with this information readily avail;able the Council does not really want it published.
The City of Melbourne operates on a NAV (Net Annual Value) as property values increase so does the Council's take - A windfall in times of plenty. Many resident's in the city will be faced with much higher rate bills as their property value has increased substantial above and beyond their income and CPI
Many residents might be seriously considering selling up and moving to less expensive rateable areas.
The Council is renowned for its over inflating costs and estimates. A recent quotation on air flights to China and accommodation was four to six times the going market rate. Our City fathers are big spenders with no expense spared in luxury or budget costs when it comes to overseas junkets. The council tried to provide Councillors with a per-diem payment when they travel. The Administration conviniently forgot that whilst Councillors are entitled to receive reimbursements for "Out of pocket expenses" they are not entitled to receive an allowance above and beyond the allowances set by the State Government. Question are still unanswered as to the legality of the Council's decision to provide Outgoing Deputy Lord Mayor Garry Singer a fully paid Limousine, free petrol and running costs (Including a hefty repair bill). Garry Singer is a part time "employee of the Council. I appears that Cr Singer uses his Council funded vehicle for private non-council use and does not pay tax or reimburse the City for his non-out-of-pocket use of the car. The Government and auditor general appear to be turning a blind eye to this unauthorized additional allowance which is not available to other Councillors. It is understood that the City must also pick up the Fringe Benefit tax for these "questionable additional benefits" Of course it is not the Councillors and staff that foots the bill but the City ratepayer.
Our City Council shows no care and no responsibility when it comes to spending our money and increasing the costs of living in the city once claimed to be the worlds most livable city..
Unlike private businesses, who struggle to obtain an increase in Income, The Council income and expenditure is in reality another impost on the City ratepayers.
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