Bill Collier is right to argue the City of Greater Bendigo council should plan ahead for superannuation liabilities (Picking up the tab, Bendigo Weekly, July 27).
In fact we already do. During the past two years, we have set aside considerable funds to help cover an anticipated shortfall in the defined benefits scheme, which was compulsory for council employees prior to 1994.
However, no council anywhere had a crystal ball powerful enough to predict the call for funds this time would be five times greater than the previous one in 2010. In our case it is between $10 million and $11m.
This issue impacts on all councils in Victoria and therefore every ratepayer. Some of our smaller rural shires, for example, are being asked to hand over one third of their rate revenue.
So whether or not we have $10m-$11m in reserve – as sanctioned by Mr Collier – in many ways misses the point. Doing so would still mean that we have $10m less to spend on the things that matter to ratepayers.
The real issue is can we change the system so ratepayers no longer have to foot the bill these shortfalls.
This is why we are urging state and federal governments to fix the problem. We want them to change the status of the scheme so it can be transitioned back to a state-managed scheme that is not required to be fully funded by ratepayers.
Other levels of government are not required to fully fund their schemes so why are we? What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, especially if it means ratepayers will no longer be burdened with this ridiculous and costly impost.
Mr Collier’s letter also makes claims about rate rises. What Mr Collier fails to mention is that rate revenue increases are due to our growing population. Put simply, more people are paying rates so our revenue is higher.
Cr Alec Sandner,
Mayor, City of Greater Bendigo
Ripped of on fuel
On a day out in Melbourne last weekend, I was taken aback by the huge difference in LPG pricing.
52.9 cents a litre anywhere around Melbourne suburbs, cheapest I saw 49.7 cents a litre.
Why is it that in Bendigo, without supermarket docket discounts, we pay around 70 cents a litre?
Are we being ripped off again in the country? I’m sure it doesn’t cost 17 cents a litre to transport LPG to Bendigo.
We are abandoned
Leigh Palmer in her letter to the editor Bendigo Weekly, July 20, is not alone with her feelings and frustrations towards City of Greater Bendigo council as to how some people living in outlying areas and fringe suburbs feel they have been abandoned by council.
Both the current and previous council, from 2004 to 2008, took annual rates, increasing them as they went, well above the annual Consumer Price Index, giving little in return to some areas.
Although some councillors were not re-elected in 2008, despite promises by several new candidates who were, little has changed during the current term.
This has not been for the lack of two councillors, Peter Cox and Lisa Ruffell, trying to get better value for money from council for all ratepayers.
The biggest example being earlier this year when both voted in favour of an independent review of council, yet all other councillors voted against, claiming it was not necessary.
Leigh asks some good questions of current councillors and people who intend to stand.
I assure Leigh there is one new candidate who will provide what he and others seek. That person is Wayne McKay, a small businessman from Heathcote who will run in the new Eppalock Ward.
If elected, Wayne assures me, not only will he represent constituents in Eppalock Ward, he will throughout all wards. Wayne is a man of his word.
But should Wayne McKay be elected, he alone cannot change the ingrained situation where most of our current councillors appear inclined to support senior council officers rather than ratepayers and residents.
More new councillors are needed in all three wards.
The October elections provide voters with a rare four yearly opportunity.
Greens do not practice what they preach
Michelle Goldsmith’s claim that electing a block of Greens candidates at the next council elections would bring greater transparency and openness to local government (Bendigo Weekly, July 27) is complete and utter nonsense.
Facts show that while the Greens demand other political parties be open and transparent they fail to practise what they preach.
They are the only political party to hold their State and National conferences in secret behind closed doors.
Successive Green politicians such as Christine Milne, Scott Ludlam and Lee Rhiannon have stated that it is the taxpayers’ right to know and that nothing should be hidden from public scrutiny
Guess what? Those taxpayers paid to have treasury cost the Greens radical policies, however when the Greens had the chance to prove they were all about openness and transparency they refused to make the findings public.
What could they possibly have to hide?
Of greater concern is the drop in property valuations resulting from Greens by-laws dictating how agricultural land may be utilised.
The people of the City of Greater Bendigo have a lot to fear from having a council controlled by the Greens.