You need to be signed in to add your comment.

Proposed Increase to Minimum Rates

by Willoughby Admin, over 8 years ago

Regardless of the amount of rates paid, ratepayers, for the most part receive the same benefits from Council in the form of service provision.

The levying of rates is a matter of finding the balance between equity of service and ability to pay. In medium to larger strata developments, a two or three bedroom unit with perhaps two to four occupants pays considerably less rates than an average house with the same number of occupants yet has access to the same amount of services.


Regardless of the amount of rates paid, ratepayers, for the most part receive the same benefits from Council in the form of service provision.

The levying of rates is a matter of finding the balance between equity of service and ability to pay. In medium to larger strata developments, a two or three bedroom unit with perhaps two to four occupants pays considerably less rates than an average house with the same number of occupants yet has access to the same amount of services.

What is Council considering
Council is currently considering a proposal which would redistribute our existing rate income across all ratepayers. This would mean an increase in the minimum rates paid by some property owners and a potential reduction for others. In short, apartment owners will pay slightly more under the new structure while house owners will attract a slight reduction.

What do we mean by the term "minimum rates"?
The minimum rate is the amount of rates payable by owners of properties with a lower rateable value (e.g. most units). Other properties rates are calculated on their land value which means they will be higher than the minimum rate. (e.g. houses)

What does it mean to you?
Council is considering a 20% increase to the minimum rate. For those ratepayers who will need to pay more the average increase will be around $2.40 a week. The proposal will not result in an overall increase in council's rate income but rather a redistribution of individual rate amounts paid by individual rate payers.

If you are a pensioner
Pensioners are eligible for rebates on their rates. Most pensioners will need to hold a Concession Card to be eligible. Council is looking at options to help reduce the impact on pensioners including the possible reduction of charges on domestic waste services.

Let us know your thoughts on the proposal
Before Council makes a decision on the matter we wish to hear what the community thinks. Council's consultation program is running until Friday 10th November.

  • Willoughby Admin over 8 years ago
    We would like to hear your feedback on our proposed increase to minimum rates. You can leave a message in this forum or fill out our short online survery at:http://www.willoughby.nsw.gov.au/about-council/rate-payments/rate-increase-survey/ You can also give your feedback using the following methods:By email – you can email us email@willoughby.nsw.gov.au By mail – you can write to us. Please direct your letters to:The General MangerMinimum Rates ProposalWilloughby City CouncilPO BOX 57Chatswood 2057By Phone - Tony Pizzuto or Glenn Fitzgerald on 9777 1000
    • Tony about 8 years ago
      The basic assumption of this proposal doesn't stand up. The propositioin is that all rate payers receive the same benefits. It takes the unit of distribution to be people - as shown by council's argument that an average unit with 3-4 occupants gets the same services as a house with the same number. But rates are on properties not people. If you look at it in terms of properties, houses require massively more infrastructure than units. Unit dwellers should be entitled to the benefits of the efficiencies of their lifestyle. It's just ridiculous to try to put the council's case on equity grounds.
  • Yenda over 8 years ago
    I have read about this proposal in the metropolitan press in relation to rate levies in general, and not just at Willoughby.You have presented a strong case in favour of the proposals. Could you also let us know what arguments might be given against the proposal?I think if the proposal were adopted, that it might be a bit of a shock for people living in units to receive an increase of over $100 per annum in one hit. Perhaps if the proposal is accepted, a phasing in of the increase over say 2 or 3 years might be a good idea?
    • Willoughby Admin over 8 years ago
      Hi Yenda,Thanks for your feedback. Council believes that at present there is inequity in terms of the amount of rates paid by some ratepayers (houses v apartments for example) when considering the services available to them. The consultation period will be used for Council’s ratepayers to decide if they would like Council to go ahead with the proposal to increase the minimum rate. It's also a chance for ratepayers to present an argument against the proposal. Council considered phasing in the increase but has decided instead to seek the increase for 2012/2013. One of the reasons behind this was that to apply each year would mean lengthy community consultation prior to lodging an application to IPART ( the body which asses applications).
      • ConcernedInWilloughby about 8 years ago
        Hi Willoughby Admin,Yenda has asked a question which you haven't answered. It regarded the council presenting some arguments against the proposal rather than just those in favour of them.I think that it is disappointing that such arguments have not been presented as it means the overall view from Council is somewhat skewed.The Council presents the case that the services received by all residents are for the most part the same. It then uses this as justification for the increase in rates for medium to large strata developments on the basis of being a "more equitable rate structure".As Yenda has requested I would like to like to present a counter case. I will do as a new post below.
  • 123degrees over 8 years ago
    This proposal sounds fair to me. My 3 adult children have left home so there are only 2 of us in our house but we pay proportionally higher rates than other dwellings. As log as there is some mechanism to help pensioners and low income earners then I would support this plan.
    • Willoughby Admin over 8 years ago
      Hi 123degrees, Thanks for your feedback. Council is considering providing assistance to pensioners in addition to the pension rebate that pensioners currently receive. The proposal is similar to the relief that Council provides to self funded retirees in the form of a lower Domestic Waste Fee.
      • RMN about 8 years ago
        If the increase is based on equality of service and ability to pay then why the pension discount? Just because some is retired living in a house they own doesn't mean they do have an ability to pay. It could also be argued that they have more time available to make use of the services that unit owners or renters who are working most days.
  • DavidR over 8 years ago
    I own a house in Willoughby as well as owning a unit. As the owner of the unit, the increase will be an extra cost to me, which I will have to pass onto my tenants.....I suspect they will not see this increase as bringing them into parity with homeowners...but just another rent increase.
    • Willoughby Admin over 8 years ago
      Hi DavidR, Thanks for your feedback.Council’s proposal is to redistribute the amount of rates payable across all ratepayers. The increase for a minimum rate equates to around $2.40 per week. The amount of rent payable is a matter for you and your tenants as well as market demand.
  • dickyknee about 8 years ago
    It is time that Local Government stopped dipping into citizens' pockets simply because Council is unable to contain its expenditure within its means and spends money on unnecessary items. Learn to reduce costs like everyone else. If you really want to be fair, then levy rates on the number of occupants of each dwelling.
    • Willoughby Admin about 8 years ago
      Hi dickyknee,Thank you for your input. Your suggestion that councils levy rates on the number of occupants of each dwelling has been suggested and tried in a number of jurisdictions around the world. Margaret Thatcher, the Conservative leader, introduced a community charge, commonly referred to as a ‘poll tax”, in the UK in 1990. This method of funding local government met with strong opposition and was repealed shortly after, in March, 1991, by the government of John Major. Councils in NSW are required to levy rates on the unimproved value of land parcels.
  • Unit Owner about 8 years ago
    I totally oppose the proposal for a number of reasons.Firstly the arguments presented are totally flawed and based on assumption. It is assumed that a 2 or 3 bedroom unit is occupied by 2 or more people. This may not be the case and in the other extreme is it possible to assume that each and every freestanding house is ocupied by say 10 or more residents? No! such assumptions are flawed.Whilst it attempts to resolve the issue of equitable distribution, the proposal discriminate against the less financially fortunate in our community. It must be noted that there is a large and varied spectrum of residents in the Willouhby Council LGA.In a financial sense, owners of units often choose to make such a purchase as they cannot afford a freestanding house on land that carries a superior value. So this proposal goes to tax and penalise those that can least afford it. In the case of an investor that owns a unit or strata title townhouse, they will then pass on such a cost to the their tenant and thus the tenant is financially disadvantaged.Land value is still the best way to levy rates as it is equitable. Those that own the most valuable land can afford to pay the higher rates. The proposal is also presumptive that everyone makes use of all the facilities etc that the council offers. This presumption is as flawed as the first presumption that the number of bedrooms is representative of the number of occupants.Until the council presents evidentiary data showing that there is a correlation between the number of bedrooms and the number of occupants using council facilities and amenities, NO ONE SHOULD ACCEPT OR SUPPORT THIS PROPOSAL.
    • Willoughby Admin about 8 years ago
      Hi Unit Owner,Thank you for your comments and suggestions. The most recent ABS data (2006) reveals that 1 person dwellings constitute 23% of the households in Willoughby and 2 or more person dwellings make up the balance of 77%.When we look at the housing stock, the ABS reveals that 47% are separate houses, 46% are medium and high density and the balance are other dwelling types. We should be able to assume then that many of the units are occupied by 2 or more persons. In terms of affordability, the purchase of a unit is not always an indicator of purchasing power. The market value of many units in Willoughby is comparable to a house. We have uploaded a graph to the library (on the main page of this forum under 'library') of sale prices for units and houses in similar areas at similar times including the rates and charges payable for the year. The increase in rates payable is estimated at $2.43 per week assuming the proposed 20% increase and a statutory increase of 3.0% as recommended by IPART. Council does not anticipate that this increase will be directly passed on to tenants as unit rents are determined by the market. Council facilities and services are generally available to all residents. The high participation rate in council activities and services indicates the community need for the services provided and the spectrum of users.Council’s proposal is simply to increase the contribution to the services provided by Council from those ratepayers paying the minimum rate to a more equitable level.
      • Unit Owner about 8 years ago
        Dear Willoughby Admin, Thank you for the reply and graph.Whilst you have pointed out some sales of strata properties that are close to home sale values within the LGA, you have wilfully excluded data in regards to entry level units and strata properties.According to Aus Property Monitors the Median House price in the WIlloughby LGA is $1,269,000 and that of a unit is $595,000.The median price for a house is more than double that of a unit. Your graph shows stratas that are double the median price. This data is misleading and skewed. A search of available properties for purchase show a 1 bedroom unit for sale for a price of $499,000 has annual council rates of $962.96. a 2 bedroom unit for sale for $575,000 has the same annual council rates. Both properties considered entry level into the LGA. Yet as shown in your graph, a freestanding house pays only 20% more yet is worth double. Totally inequitable! Yet under the proposal, the strata would pay even more yet the house owner will pay less! In regards to the number of occupants, your data is true and correct however you are still using assumptions of even distribution and not fact.The council are choosing to penalise and discriminate against owners that choose a more affordable form of housing i.e. a strata or unit. I do not believe your last statement is correct at all. Whilst you seek to increase the contribution from those that can least afford it (the people that choose affordable housing options) you are decreasing the contribution by those that have arguably a higher net wealth. The sole basis of the submission is a redistribution and not a uniform increase of total rates across the board.
        • Willoughby Admin about 8 years ago
          Dear Unit Owner,Thanks again for your thoughts. We will certainly consider the additional points you have raised. We will let community members know about all outcomes from this consultation period through a varitey of mediums, including this forum. Thanks again for your feedback.
      • Keith about 8 years ago
        If Council really believes that Landlords will not pass on a 20% increase to tenants, then someone at Council is living in "Cloud Cuckoo Land" and I hope they bring themselves back into the real word soon!Oh, and for the record, I am a Real Estate Agent (I work in North Sydney Area), and I for one know that the Landlords I represent would not be keen to take a hit to ROI (Return on Investment) like this, and would be looking to recoupe the extra expense at the next rent renewal.You are indeed right, rents are determined by the market.... but they are also determined by the underlaying costs of investment property ownership in a given area. No body should kid themselves that higher rates will not end up meaning higher rents.
  • RMN about 8 years ago
    A 20% increase in minimum rates also occurred between 2007/08 & 2008/09 with a similar argument of making it more equitable. At that time it was also planned to have a 10% increase for the following 2 years as well but luckily the GFC made council rethink that idea. But one has to ask just how many times the increase will be argued on the "equitably" grounds.If council really wanted to they could use the census to work out the average number of people in an average house and unit residence and bill them (house or unit) accordingly. Why should the 15 people (aged 0 to 60) across 8 units worth under $4m where I live have to pay as much as 5 houses worth $8m with 20 people living in them when we sit on as much land as a house sits on.Given that 45% of residences in Willoughby are units this is an issue that affects many people.
  • ConcernedInWilloughby about 8 years ago
    Hi Willoughby Admin,Firstly, I congratulate the Council for presenting forums, such as this, for community consultation.I was, however, disappointed to see that the case for the suggested increase in rates for apartment owners was fully presented however the counter arguments were not. I am hoping that if these counter arguments were not already fully considered, that they will be as a result of this community consultation.The council presents the case that the services received by all residents are for the most part the same. It then uses this as justification for the increase in rates for medium to large strata developments on the basis of being a "more equitable rate structure".As requested in an earlier comment I would like to like to present some counter arguments to this stance that the council has adopted.When rubbish bins are provided to the community do apartments in medium to large strata developments have access to their individual rubbish and recycling bins? No.Does the garbage collector travel as far per residence, or pick up as many rubbish bins per residence when collected from apartment blocks as compared to houses? No, because apartment blocks share bins, albeit larger, and take up less street distance per property than houses thus saving both time and fuel in waste collection.Do unit blocks require as much grass to be cut by council on a per property basis? Do unit blocks, on average per resident have as many cars on the road damaging the road as freestanding dwellings? No an No and the list goes on ...It does not seem fair, given the differences I've outlined, to justify rate increases for some on the basis that "ratepayers, for the most part receive the same benfits from Council in the form of service provision". In a user pays world where unit living is more efficient from a council perspective such an assertion seems quite unfair.It is for much the same reason that travelling by car should be more expensive than travelling by public transport. Public transport, like apartment living, is inherently more efficient. I do not believe the proposed changes are in the community's best interest and strongly oppose them being made.
  • Keith about 8 years ago
    "Two to three bedroom unit with two to four occupants pays considerably less rates than an average house with the same number of occupants".... Yes, and to be honest, given that most people would consider Unit dwelling to be a compromise on standard of living, and can only dream of having the disposable income and savings needed to be able to purchase a house with the same number of bedrooms, we should be paying less!!When you look at the average sq mtr space a two bedroom or three bedroom house has compared to the average space a two or three bedroom unit has, that house is taking up significantly more space. Units have a lower ratable value because the 'standard' of living is typically less luxurious than that of a house with the same number of bedrooms. Certainly there is more sq mtrs per occupant with a house (on average).At the end of the day, Council is to provide services, to be available to be used by residents if required. Some residents may use a wide range of services provided by Council, others may only use a small proportion. Therefore, the number of occupants in a property is not a good way to calculate rates due.The only 'fair and equitable' way of calculating rates is based on what the VALUE of a PROPERTY (regardless of property type) is worth. Therefore those with Penthouse Units pay more than those with 2 bed Houses, and those with 2 Bed units pay less than those with 2 bed Houses (as the units have no garden/land attached and are typically smaller sq mtr properties). Unfortunately the current council proposal simply comes across (based on the justification provided) as simply the Rich (those able to afford Houses) getting richer, and the Poorer (those stuck at the 'Unit' step of the property ladder) getting poorer.Those who are fortunate to have investment units as well as dwellings, will end up having to pass the 20% increase across to the tennants as part of a rent increase (or take a short term hit), and given the number of rental units in Willoughby, this increase in rental costs will make the area less desirable to tennants who will be able to rent cheaper housing in surrounding suburbs such as North Sydney and Lane Cove.
  • xtcom about 8 years ago
    Totally agree with ConcernedInWilloughby. This proposal is based on a flawed assumption that the services received by all residents are for the most part the same.
  • KJR about 8 years ago
    As far as I can tell, there are very few council services that home owners receive more of than unit owners? The green garbage collection is one, but unit owners have garbage and recycling; parks and gardens are used by all, irrespective of residence, and it could be argued more by unit owners as home owners have their own outside area; we pay for services in relation to development individually; Services such as council based community services (aged care, childrens services) are utilised equally by both; cultural services are utilised equally. So why does a 4 person unit pay $123 pq versus my 4 person house paying $300pq? The council advises "the levying of rates is a matter of finding the balance between equity of service and ability to pay". How does the council have any idea of my ability to pay vs a unit owners ability to pay? I bought my property in Chatswood many years ago for a small sum, much smaller than what units in Chatswood are currently worth. Just because my property value has increased does not mean my ability to pay has increased proportionally.I think there has to be more equity in calculation of rates, especially with the increasing number of units that are appearing in our suburb
  • Basil about 8 years ago
    What hubris! Another grab for cash by Willoughby City Council to pay for its over development of the Chatswood concourse? You forget that appartment dwellers generate less waste. No garden clippings to dispose of, less furniture to dispose off due to a more confined space, less street lighting to provide and maintain, less pathways to maintain per square metre, less distance for the garbage trucks to travel between. It is also harder to cram more people into an appartment dwelling than it is for a home. How many 1 bedroom or studio stand alone homes are there in Willoughby City? None? Many appartments also do not come with parking so occupants do not have cars to clog up streets with, quite unlike homes. Appartment dwellers are slugged enough rates as it is, we have very little leeway in reducing electricity costs, unlike home owners who cover their roofs with solar and sell their electricity back to the grid at appartment dweller's expense. If Willoughby city council wants to create a fairer system of rates, they will instead charge them not based on the type of property but the number of occupants residing in each.Willoughby city council rates are already higher than North Sydney Council and Lane Cove council. Perhaps those living in the peripheries of the city council boundaries should succeed from this Chatswood centric council and push for inclusion into North Sydney or Lane cove. What has Willoughby city council done for St Leonards? Walk past it and you will see noting much.
    • Basil about 8 years ago
      You can clearly see which 1/2 of St leonards and Crows Nest belongs to Willoughby city council and which half belongs to North Sydney Council. The Willoughby city council side has had nothing done to it in years.
    • Willoughby Admin about 8 years ago
      Willoughby Councils boundary in the St. Leonards Centre only takes in The Forum and the office buildings which are on the northern side of the Pacific Highway and the north side of Chandos Street. The rest of the area in the Willoughby LGA comprises the Royal North Shore Hospital, which is currently under redevelopment by the State Government, and the residential buildings to the north along Herbert St. The three Councils have prepared a Planning Strategy for the St Leonards Centre which is being implemented. It includes some rezonings to enable development to fund streetscape improvements, new open space, new pedestrian links, landscaping and allows for upgrade of the buildings. Some of this is occurring along Chandos Street. Lane Cove Council is responsible for most of the south side of the Highway. They have prepared an urban design plan for that area with a new park and link to the bus- rail interchange that will improve the centre along the southern side. The only remaining site for redevelopment on the Willoughby side is to the north of the Forum which is partly owned by Council. Council held an architectural competition for that land and has changed the planning controls to encourage an exciting new project that will add new life to that section of St Leonards.Please note the residential rates are not used to fund The Concourse.
  • JS Artarmon about 8 years ago
    Thanks for presenting these types of forum and asking for feedback.I am so amazed as to how this forum even come about. These multi-million dollars houses in Willoughby wants fairer rates distribution? Gosh, we end up in units because we can't afford to buy some land. We are already paying high strata fees. I'm sure these multi-million dollars house owners don't mind paying a couple of hundred dollars more annually. So, please be considerate.And yes, who says these houses have less number of occupants?!? That's one big bloated assumption!And yes, we (units) produce less garden waste and furniture pick-ups, less number of garbage bins, etc. So, where is the fairness here?I think we are heading down to the bottom line pushing the rent up for units further and further. *heavy sigh*
  • XYZ about 8 years ago
    I have three questions:1) Can you tell me what percentage of total properties and what percentage of total units will have to pay the whole 20% increase under this proposal (ie. what percentage of total properties and units are currently on the minimum rate)? (I know that the average increase is $126 pa, but this number is dragged down by those properties currently above the minimum so I believe it is probably misleading for those currently paying the minimum rate).2) What is the current minimum rate ($)?3) You have provided the average increase number of $126 pa for those facing an increase. However what is the average decrease for those facing an reduction?Thank you.
    • Willoughby Admin about 8 years ago
      Thank you for your input. For the current rating year approximately 47% of ratepayers pay the residential minimum rate of $549.45. Under the proposal those ratepayers will pay an extra $126 per annum, and the number of ratepayers on the minimum rate will increase to approximately 58%. This means that a further 11% of ratepayers will be on the minimum rate and will receive an increase ranging from $1 to 126 per annum. The remaining 42% of ratepayers will receive an average decrease of around $90 per annum. So what that means is that the owners of a property who receive the average decrease of $90 would pay a residential rate of $1065.00 in 2012/2013. Please note that the calculations include an estimated 3% increase allowable under rate pegging which makes the figures appear a little distorted. The rate pegged increase would apply to all ratepayers and equates to $16.50 of the $126 increase for minimum rates.
  • PoorCousin about 8 years ago
    20% is a bit steep. Also I would assume there will be a 20% increase in service that we can actually use. The redistribution of wealth argument seems to be a bit weak in my opinion. If you really want fair, you might as well as people who own houses over $1m to distribute their wealth to those who leave in apartments.
  • YMBJ about 8 years ago
    Where is the maths in this crazy Council money grab?I live in a block of 72 apartments so Council collects annually around $72,000 in rates and the land area would support from 6 to 8 free standing properties. These houses would not provide anywhere near $72,000 in rates. Further it is much cheaper in both capital and maintenance costs for Council to supply services to around the 150 people leaving in the block than around the 32 people living in the equivalent 8 houses with multiple water and sewage connections and garbage collections.This council appears hell bent on getting itself voted out of power or are they just in trouble paying for the new Civic Center..........
    • Willoughby Admin about 8 years ago
      Thanks for your feedback. In response to the points you raise, the rating component for 72 units is $39,560.40. Residential rates were not increased to fund The Concourse. The funding plan included a 10% increase in the CBD Business rate, this occurred in 2007/2008. There are no plans to increase rates to fund The Concourse.Council services are planned to population thresholds, the greater the population in an area, the more services required. Some examples of the services provided by Council include road construction and maintenance, parks and recreation facilities, footpath construction and maintenance, street lighting, street cleansing, dog and pest control, library services, community services, sporting and health facilities, building control & town planning, environmental planning and conservation.
  • Willoughby Admin about 8 years ago
    Public Information SessionCouncil will be holding a public information session on the proposed increase to minimum rates. This is another opportunity to have your say. Details are below.Tuesday, 8 November 2011Time: 6:00pm - 7:00pmVenue: Council Chambers, Level 6, 31 Victor Street, ChatswoodContact: Tony Pizzuto on 9777 1000 or email email@willoughby.nsw.gov.auCost: Free
  • Barbara about 8 years ago
    I'm not at all happy at a proposed increase in rates. Services have not improved since the last one. Do we really need a green and recycling bin collection every week? Fortnightly would be sufficient. I'd hate to think that an increase in rates would be to make up the shortfall on the hideous Concourse building that now graces the centre of Chatswood. It's a monstrosity.
  • Willoughby Admin about 8 years ago
    As you are aware Council has recently been conducting community consultation to seek feedback on a proposed increase to minimum rates. Council has used a number of methods to inform rate payers of these proposed changes. These methods have included flyers with rates notices, brochures and posters displayed at community facilities, an online engagement campaign and information stalls at public events.Through this community consultation we have received a great deal of feedback from rate payers. We would like to take this opportunity to help answer some commonly occurring questions that have been asked by rate payers.What services does Council provide for rate payers?Your Council rates go towards parks and recreation facilities, road construction and maintenance, footpath construction and maintenance, street lighting, street cleansing, dog and pest control, library services, community services, sporting and health facilities, building control & town planning, environmental planning and conservation and more.Will the proposed increase in minimum rates be used to fund The Concourse?Residential rates are not used to fund The Concourse. The funding plan included a 10% increase in the CBD Business rate, which occurred in 2007/2008. There are no plans to increase residential rates to fund The Concourse.Does the proposed increase in minimum rates effect the amount charged for waste services? The Domestic Waste Management Charge is a separate component on your rate notice and is based on the “reasonable cost” of providing the service. The proposed increase in minimum rates will not impact the amount you pay for domestic waste services.What is the minimum rate?As the name suggests, the minimum rate is the lowest amount of rates payable to Council. This is calculated on land value which is determined independently of Council. In general ratepayers in units and townhouses pay the minimum rate. Ratepayers in houses generally pay more than the minimum rate. In 2010/2011 the minimum rate is $549.45 and the average rate for a house is $1153.The proposed increase in minimum rates is designed to provide a more equitable distribution of rate payments and does not result in an increase in Council’s total rate income. Under the proposal who will have to pay the increase in minimum rates?Under the proposal all ratepayers who qualify to pay the minimum rate will be subject to the increase. I am a ratepayer who lives in a house. Do I have to pay the proposed increase in minimum rates?In general, ratepayers who live in a house pay more than the minimum rate. This means that the proposed increase in minimum rates will not apply to you, and for the most part may actually mean a reduction in rates.Pensioner DiscountsUnder the proposal Pensioners will receive an additional discount to their domestic waste charge. This discount is designed to make rates more affordable for pensioners. Further opportunity for feedbackThank you for your feedback. If you would like to discuss the proposed increase to minimum rates further we will be holding an information evening between 6pm and 7pm on Tuesday 8th November in Council Chambers, Level 6, 31 Victor Street, Chatswood.
  • Monique about 8 years ago
    I agree with many of the points already raised, such as appartment living being more efficient and requiring less services (ie. less garbage pickups / infrastructure connections etc. per person per square meter). I live in a Town House in the high-density part of Artarmon (not sure if Town House is classified as house or appartment). I also agree with the number of residents per dwelling charges, although this can be very transient in apartment living and depending on how often it is re-evaluated, it could increase admin costs.Someone mentioned below that apartments generate less dumping and this I strongly disagree with. I feel that renters should be charged an additional fee (on top of the bond) that is returned one week after them leaving, providing there is no matteresses, furniture, tvs, etc. left apon there moving out date. I also feel Willoughby Council could do better with an illegal dumping campaign other than sticking a useless "dumping it's dump" sticker on dumped items. This is something I feel strongly about apartment owners paying more for to council (and passing on increased costs to tennants on top of rent).
  • Jen in Chatswood about 8 years ago
    The council claims that "the levying of rates is a matter of finding the balance between equity of service and ability to pay", however doesn't provide supporting evidence of research and calculations to back the argument that there is in fact inequality. The single factor of headcount per household - with no weighting given to the size of land occupied and cost of service provision to the two different types of residence - is inadequate. Economies of scale should also play a part in this equation. Take rubbish collection for example - does the council spend as much time and money collecting rubbish from say, an apartment with 100 units, compared to collecting from 100 individual houses? Where are the numers? How did the council arrive at the 20% increase to achieve equality? Where's the evidence that apartment dwellers are not paying their fair share? Show us the calculation and research to back up this proposal please.
  • Robert about 8 years ago
    In our 'use pays' world, I would disagree with the proposal.While the services received by residents are essentially the same, the cost of providing those services (eg. garbage collection and provision for roads and footpaths) is less for apartments than for houses. Our block of 37 apartments puts out about 15 wheely bins per collection, whereas 37 houses are likely to put out 37 bins. The time taken to empty 15 bins from one location will be far less than for 37 bins in different locations. There is a significant time and volume difference.Similarly, the road frontage for apartments is much less than for the same number of houses.
    • Willoughby Admin about 8 years ago
      Hi Robert,Thanks for the feedback. Domestic waste charges are based on the reasonable cost to provide services across the city. The domestic waste charge is not related to the proposed increase in minimum rates. According to Council’s waste audit results the average waste generation rates for units is 8.19kg per unit. This is higher that the mean household generation rate of 8.09kg per household. Units are also entitled to 4 scheduled clean up services per annum. In areas around unit blocks we find there is more dumping which we need to clean up and pay disposal costs.
  • Fairrates about 8 years ago
    I believe Council’s proposal to increase the minimum rate by 20% is ill considered, poorly presented and completely unjustified. I will declare up front that we live in an apartment and pay the current minimum rate, however, we live in an apartment out of choice and unlike many others we could easily afford a 20% increase. The problem however is that this 20% increase proposal is bad public policy as it places too much relative burden on the less wealthy because it does not consider the ability to pay. Furthermore, it incorrectly assumes that the COST to provide services to all ratepayers is the same. Firstly, Council has completely failed to present its case based on its own criteria of “finding a balance between equity of service and ability to pay”. Despite Council claiming that there are two requirements ("equity of service” and “ability to pay”), it completely ignores the ability to pay component. Throughout the entire proposal material Council has only talked about the ‘equity of service’ - there is no discussion about the ability of ratepayers to pay (other than the reference to pensioner rebates). Given that 47% of ratepayers currently pay the minimum rate and that this would rise to 58% if this 20% increase is approved, I find it absolutely astonishing that Council has completely ignored half of the requirements (that Council set itself) for more than half of its ratepayers. I believe this is a major failure in Council’s proposal. While there has already been a significant increase in the percentage of ratepayers who are behind on their rates (ie. the rates outstanding ratio has increased from 2.78% to 2.95% over the last year according to Council’s 2011 Financial Statements), I believe a 20% increase for those already on the minimum is likely to result in a further significant jump in arrears, particularly in the current economic climate. Therefore, Council needs to urgently address the ability to pay issue, particularly as it plans a rate increase more than 6 times the statutory limit. There is a good reason why the State Government pegs local government rates to approximate the inflation rate – it is to avoid unjustified increases such as this.I note from Council’s website that 11 out of the 13 elected councillors live in houses (while the other 2 only provide a PO box address). Now while I’m not questioning the integrity of any of the councillors as I’m sure they have the best of intentions, I do wonder how the Council (through no fault of its own) that is so under representative of the 50% that live in apartments has any legitimacy in proposing to hit that group with a 20% increase. I would ask each of the 13 councillors do you believe as a group you are able to understand the impact of this proposal on 50% of ratepayers when at most 15% (at worst 0%) of your group will be negatively impacted? Unfortunately, to make matters worse, the proposal would actually see at least 85% of councillors receive a reduction in rates (with atleast two waterfront councillors likely to receive very substantial rates cuts). According to Council, the average house would receive a $90 reduction, which implies that the most valuable houses would receive substantially more. I believe this highlights a significant conflict of interest for most or all of the elected council. At the very least I believe each councillor should specifically declare what the impact would be with respect to their own place of residence.Council itself has already acknowledged that “councils in NSW are required to levy rates on the unimproved value of land parcels”. However, by trying to move more than 50% of ratepayers onto a minimum rate Council is ignoring this basic requirement. Council rates are levied on land value just as income tax is levied on income (and income tax rates rise as income rises) in order to place a greater burden on those that are able to pay. This is a basic component of equity in Australia. This leads to the “equity of service” argument that Council has tried to push. Council claims that “regardless of the amount of rates paid, ratepayers, for the most part receive the same benefits from Council in the form of service provision”. I believe this is a grossly simplistic and inaccurate claim that has two fundamental errors. Firstly, it simply assumes that all ratepayers receive the same services, and secondly it implies that the COST of providing those services is the same. However neither assumption is true, and neither has even been legitimately argued by Council. Council has simply made the claims without any justification or proof, and then simply tried force people to agree by calling it “equality of service”. After all, How could anyone argue against “equality”? My argument is not against the concept of equality, nor the need for it. In fact, I am in favour of both. My argument is that Council has not proved that inequality exists, it has simply stated that the current system is not fair without any evidence whatsoever. I ask Council - where is the supporting data and analysis?I don’t believe that all council services are necessarily equally spread across all ratepayers. However, more importantly though the cost of providing many services is clearly not the same. The reality is that many of Council’s services are significantly cheaper to provide to apartments compared to houses. For example, the cost of waste collection or road maintenance for an apartment complex with 50 units is significantly less than the same services for 50 houses. (Waste collection for 50 units can be done via 4 kip bins in 2 minutes, and the local road of 50 units might be just 30 metres). The presence of medium density housing actually significantly reduces the average cost of service provision for Council – this should be reflected in the relative rates, however Council is actually trying to do the opposite. According to Council’s 2011 Financial Statements, 20% of its 2011 total expenditure ($18m out of $88m) was for Environment (which is largely environmental services, waste management, street cleaning, drainage and stormwater); while 13% ($12m) was for Transport (roads, footpaths, bridges). Without even going through the other expenditure categories, I would argue that at least this 33% is not evenly spread across apartment and house ratepayers. I believe there are many other costs that fall into this category. As such, I would ask Council to provide this specific information to ratepayers – an unsubstantiated claim is simply not good enough. If Council is arguing for more equality then surely it should be honest and analyse the cost of servicing all types of ratepayers in order to fairly allocate council costs across the ratepayer pool, subject to the ability to pay.I note that when Council last tried to put through a rate rise above the statutory limit in June this year, the independent tribunal (IPART) rejected Council’s 12.8% application due to a lack of community consultation which is a requirement under the legislation. What Council tried to get away with last time was to rely on the minimal feedback from 3 years earlier (2008/09). On my reading of its decision, IPART was rather scathing of Council’s approach. Now less than 6 months later Council is trying to put through an even higher increase with consultation largely consisting of a small flyer posted out with the last rate notice. I’m not sure IPART would view this as being appropriate. Council is relying on ratepayer apathy and unawareness until it is too late. If Council was serious about community consultation it would not only undertake significant community engagement, it would also provide an impartial discussion of all the issues both for and against. Furthermore, consultation must involve Council actually addressing the issues that myself and others have raised on this forum, rather than just paying lip service with a ‘thank you for your input, council will take it into consideration’ automated type of reply. In addition, I believe Council should immediately provide ratepayers with a copy of its upcoming application to IPART. My firm impression from both Council’s proposal as well as its disappointing responses to the comments on this forum so far is that Council has already determined its course of action regardless of the feedback that has been provided. I hope I’m wrong.I believe this proposal is simply a crude attempt by Council to raise revenue as quickly and easily as possible without regard to the impact on ratepayers, in order to cover for its out of control spending. Council has already admitted that it “considered phasing in the increase but has decided instead to seek the increase for 2012/2013. One of the reasons behind this was that to apply each year would mean lengthy community consultation prior to lodging an application to IPART.” In other words, Council does not want to be bothered with talking to either its ratepayers or IPART so it has decided to hit people upfront with over 6 times the normal yearly increase. I also note that IPART concluded last time (June 2011) that “raising the minimum rate is also likely to further enhance the council’s income growth in future years”. As such, in my view Council’s claim that the 20% proposal “will not result in an overall increase in council’s rate income” is misleading. The financial projections in the 2011 Financial Statements show that the Council is budgeting to go from a operating surplus of ~$5m (excluding the $16m profit on the sale of Thomas St carpark) in 2011, to a $3m deficit in 3 years time (with a worsening, ongoing negative trend). Furthermore, Council spent $19m on administration in 2011, 22% of its entire budget. In my view, the 20% rate rise proposal is aimed at covering up Council’s out of control spending, particularly on its own administration. I strongly suggest that Council look very hard at its expenditure budgets rather than trying to put through another massive rate increase. Council needs to learn to live within its means like the rest of us. Rate pegging has been going since 1977 with statutory rate increases approximating the inflation rate over that time (between 2.6% and 3.6% for the last 7 years). Given that Council knows, year in and year out, that it will only be able to increase its rates by around inflation, then surely Council needs to set its expenditure budgets on that basis. (I mean, how many organisations are guaranteed an increase in revenue every year, by the government, and know what it will be? I would love that to be the case for my business!) Instead, Council appears to be constantly taking the easy way out by running to IPART every few years asking for another ‘one-off’ rate increase. In the last 10 years Council has had three above statutory rate rises approved (6.1% in 2003/04 to all minimum rates, 9.98% for CTC rates in 2007/08, and 20% to all minimum rates in 2008/09). What possible confidence can ratepayers have that the latest 20% proposal will be the last? Council is clearly hooked on above statutory rate rises.I would also like to add my support for a few other comments already made. If approved, this rate increase will most definitely end up being passed through to tenants by the marketplace. For Council to say that it “does not anticipate that this increase will be directly passed on to tenants as unit rents are determined by the market” beggars belief – if all rental apartments in the marketplace are hit with a cost increase then the marketplace will drive up rents. Similarly, for Council to suggest that “the market value of many units in Willoughby is comparable to a house” is plain wrong – just look at the data and don’t make silly statements. Also, for Council to suggest that the 20% proposal is not related to the Concourse is mischievous in my view given that all costs and revenues associated with the Concourse will be included in Council’s future Financial Statements (along with any increase in rates). If the Concourse performs below expectations won’t Council (and hence ratepayers) have to foot the bill? Clearly the answer is yes.IPART notes that “that an application is unlikely to be supported if it will result in more than 50% of ratepayers within the respective category or sub-category paying the minimum”. Therefore it is disturbing to see that Council said in its last increase application that while it “is aware of the requirements of the Act in regard to minimum rates” ... “Council feels that the limitations of the Act and regulations can inhibit fair and equitable methods of rating” … and that “Council is of the opinion that Sutton v Blue Mountains CC (1977) 40 LGRA 51 is of limited relevance”. In other words, Council is arrogantly dismissing both the guidance from the independent regulator (which knocked back Council last time), and legal precedent. Council concluded with it “is confident that the proposed rating structure is fair and equitable for Willoughby City Council”. Perhaps this is a Freudian slip, but surely the correct question to ask is ‘What is fair and equitable for ratepayers?’Thank you for providing this forum. I look forward to Council’s reply to the concerns I and others have raised.
    • Willoughby Admin about 8 years ago
      Hi Fairrates,Thank you for taking the time to give us your feedback. You have covered many points and the feedback you have given that relates to the proposal will be included in the report that goes to Council to help decide whether to apply to IPART for an increase in minimum rates.We have posted further information in the form of a slideshow on the proposal which is available on the Council website at http://www.willoughby.nsw.gov.au/About-Council/Exhibitions/minimum-rates/ Council has already provided information on many of the points you have raised. However, if you would like to discuss the proposal in depth please feel free to contact Glenn Fitzgerald or Tony Pizzuto on 9777 1000.If it is decided that Council will apply for the proposed increase in minimum rates, IPART will independently asses whether Council has met all legislative and community consultation requirements. Council is confident that we have conducted a thorough community consultation process on the proposal, as mentioned elsewhere on this forum. The purpose of this online forum is to give the community a convenient way to provide feedback to Council. All comments on this forum will be forwarded to Council and considered. Council officers will respond to certain posts if clarification on an issue is required, however the main purpose of this forum is to gain feedback for consideration, not to debate. We appreciate the time you have taken to share your view, and thank you for taking part in our community consultation process.
  • smallpotatoes about 8 years ago
    Firstly, I'll admit to being a house owner in Chatswood.My initial - therefore selfish - reaction, is "sure, go ahead" - ease some of the ever increasing burden that's being thrust upon us.I also wonder why I only just received information about this in the mail three days out from the end of the consultation program, but that's by the by and rather cynical.Anyway, to my mind it's rather socially regressive. Surely a more equitable system would be based on the value of the property; or a combination of the valuation in conjunction with the UK's (failed) Poll Tax.If the ultimate outcome of the proposal results in the same income going to council anyway, then this whole process just strikes me as a waste of last year's rates.Well done for setting up a forum by the way - I was pleasantly surprised to find that this exists.Cheers
  • Unit Owner about 8 years ago
    I attended the meeting tonight that was held at the Willoughby Council Chambers.At the meeting a lady at the front of the audience noted that she was a pensioner that occupied a unit. She noted that with the increase in charges she will have to sell something like her car or move out of the area. These are the residents we must protect from this greedy grab for money and grossly inequitable redistribution of wealth that makes the rich richer and the poor poorer. Living in a strata title apartment or unit is sometimes not by choice but by economic need. Why would the council then increase the cost to the residents that can least afford it but then put money back into the pocket to those that can afford to pay more?Councillor Norton noted that she had spoken to several pensionsers that lived in houses worth only $700,000 or $800,000 and were disgusted in paying more rates or the same than someone that lived or purchased a $1.5 million apartment. May I remind Clr Norton that the contribution made to the Willoughby LGA by such occupiers of apartments purchased for $1.5 million is by and larger much much greater than just the minimum rates that is collected. The creation of jobs, the economic benefit in the building phase as well as the economic benefit generated from the Stamp Duty (although collected by the state govt it still contributes back into the state and for that matter the WIlloughby LGA).It was highlighted by a gentleman attending that meeting that the Strata title occupiers may provide far more economic benefit to the Willoughby LGA on a per square metre basis than that of people occupying a house. This would mean that whilst they may utilise some resources supplied by council they give back a whole lot more. Why slug them extra?Someone then said what of the asset rich cash poor elderly resident that may own a property worth many millions, pay many thousands in rates but cannot afford to and thus we must provide relief to them. A comment wasmade that such people "cannot eat their property". Quite frankly I was disgusted as the lady at the front cannot afford to eat at all. I am quite disgusted by the attitude of the Willoughby Council on this matter. This is not even Robin Hood robbing the rih to feed the poor. This is REVERSE ROBIN! Robbing the poor to feed the rich. What also disgusts me is the stealth nature in which the council has gone about this process. I would have thought that aequate advertisement of this issue and adequate invitation of public comment be required. However Willoughby have tried to slip this one in under the cover of darkness. All residents should be disgusted by this reckless behaviour.
    • Willoughby Admin about 8 years ago
      Hi Unit Owner,As per our reply to another of your posts Council has conducted an extensive information and advertising campaign since September. As mentioned at the meeting there are options for rate payers who are having difficulty paying their rates, including an option to defer all rates payable for pensioners suffering hardship.
  • Unit Owner about 8 years ago
    Some more digging of facts:http://www.ipart.nsw.gov.au/files/Determination%20-%20Willoughby%20City%20Councils%20application%20to%20increase%20minimum%20rates%20-%20June%2011%20-%20website.PDFPlease read this. This is the umpire's decision - IPART rejected Willoughby Council's request for a 12.8% increase to minimum rates. Now, Willoughby wants 20%!!!!Note the facts and reasons and rationale given by IPART for rejecting the request in June 2011:"Overall, we consider that the council’s level of consultation and the timeframe inwhich it has occurred has not allowed the community to be properly informed aboutthe requested minimum rate increases. Given the size of the requested minimumrate increases and the number of ratepayers affected, the council should have betterpublicised its proposal and consulted with its community before it submitted itsapplication. This would have allowed enough lead time for ratepayers and others toprovide their views, and for the council to properly assess the results of this feedbackand forward as part of their application"Again the council has FAILED to inform the community this time around.
    • Willoughby Admin about 8 years ago
      Dear Unit Owner,Thank you for attending our public meeting last night and taking the opportunity to have your say on this online forum. In reply to your statement that Council has failed to inform the community on the proposed increase to minimum rates please read below the depth of Council's community engagement activities for this issue:- An information brochure with an invitation to the public meeting. This was distributed to 22, 000 rate payers.- Information in the ‘Willoughby City News’ in September which was delivered to every residence in the Willoughby LGA.- Letters to every Progress Association in the area.- An information in Chatswood Mall stall with surveys available at the Willoughby Street Fair. Over 100, 000 people attended the Street Fair.- A survey which could be returned by mail, we have received over 200 responses. - An online survey, we have received over 850 responses.- A dedicated web page with information on the proposal.- An online forum monitored by Council staff providing feedback on comments and questions as well as additional links to information.- Advertisements and editorials in the North Shore .- Facebook Posts.- Tweets on Twitter.- Letters in reply to people who emailed Council with comments.- A Frequently Asked Questions handout.- Information and surveys at Council’s Customer Service desk.I’m sure that you will agree that Council has made a dedicated effort to informing the community about the proposed increase to minimum rates as well as providing multiple methods for the community to give their feedback.
      • Fairrates about 8 years ago
        Dear Willoughby Admin,While this list is interesting, what is more interesting is that you have not told us what any of the actual feedback has been.In particular, can you please tell the community the result of both the online survey (850 responses) and the mail survey (200 responses)? How many out of the 1050 responss were in favour and how many were against? A bit of actual data would be useful regarding the debate, and would highlight if Council is actually taking the feedback on board or not.Also, you have highlighted in the list above the existence of this online forum and the feedback that you have provided on the comments. Therefore I am surprised that you have found the time to reply to Unit Owner in this post (which is fine), but you still have not found the time to reply to my post from 2 days earlier. The lack of response so far is not really helping Council's claim that it "has made a dedicated effort to informing the community". Given IPART's criticism of Council's inadequate communication efforts last time, I would have thought things might have improved this time.Can you please get back to me on this post, as well as my earlier post. Thank you.
        • Willoughby Admin about 8 years ago
          Dear Fairrates,At present we are still in the process of community consultation. At the conclusion of the consultation period a report will be presented to Council including all results and feedback from community consultation. The community will be informed of Council’s decision on whether to apply for the proposed increase in minimum rates, and if Council does apply, whether or not the proposal is approved by IPART.Please feel free to call 9777 1000 and ask to speak to Glenn Fitzgerald or Tony Pizzuto if you would like to discuss or clarify the proposal any further. Thanks.
      • Unit Owner about 8 years ago
        Dear Willoughby Admin,Whilst you have listed a number of sources of information you have basically missed the most obvious place to inform residents and ratepayers. THE RATES NOTICES.I out to the council that information about the proposed minimum rates increased was omitted from rates notices so that ratepayers were not aware of the proposal. This is unethical, ad clandestine in nature andgoes the show the lengths that the council will go to in order to underhandedly increase rates for those that can least afford it.Did the council have information about the rates increase at the libraries that are frequented by rate payers and paid for by ratepayers?In terms of your social media and your facebook posts, will IPART seriously consider that this was a valid method of informing the community. A facebook searches shows Willoughby City Council has 756 "likes" and 12 people talking about this! In June 2010 there were 70,008 residents according to council website. So as a percentage Facebook reached 1.07%. Hardly engaging the community on the subject.Twitter is worse with only 287 followers = 0.4% of the residents received the tweets. NOT GOOD enough.This evidence shows that the council by not including vital information in rates notices have not gone about their duty of informing ratepayers and some may conclude that their behaviour has been deceptive and unscrupulous. They have been rejected by IPART for a 12.8% increase to the minimum rates and then they come back in less than 3 months and propose a 20% increase. This is vulgar behaviour and reeks of desperation and tactics that are untoward the best interests of ratepayers.
  • Unit Owner about 8 years ago
    Having applied more consideration of the facts, it seems Willoughby City Council are desperate to impose this minimum rate increase as a desperate attempt to gauge more rates out of those that can least afford it as well as those that will become new ratepayers to the Willoughby LGA.At the meeting on 8 November, Clr Norton raised the issue of "What about the residents in the $800,000 property paying more rates than the person buying a $1.5 million unit?"Well its simple, the council is so desperate to pursue the minimum rate increase because of the 4 new apartment buildings that will be going in above the rail line in Chatswood. The first tower has 292 units. Minimum rates as at today's rates in total would be $160,439. If the proposed increase is approved, those new unit holders will pay a minimum total of $192,527.28. An extra little bonus of $32,088! AN OPPORTUNISTIC CASH GRAB AND GAUGING EFFORT!From my research there will be in total, over 1000 new units being built. The proposed increase will gauge an extra $110,000 on top of the extra $549,450 that the council will receive in rates. This is reckless opportunistic behaviour.Furthermore, an argument was presented that all residents in one way or another use council paid for facilities. It has been sited on a slide presented to include:Playing FieldsStreet LightingFire BrigadeStreet CleaningRecyclingPlanningChildcareLibrariesNoise ControlRoads and BridgesFootpathsParksGarbageMeals on WheelsBuilding InspectionsSustainabilityFood SafetyLeisure CentrePerforming ArtsLanguage ServicesSeniors ProgramsEconomic DevelopmentYouth CentresImmunizationDevelopment ApplicationsSchools VisitsBushland PreservationCommunity CentresHistorical BuildingsWeed ControlAdult LearningFitness ClassesBetter Business PartnershipsPet EducationAnimal RegistrationSESBushfire ControlDrainageI agree that I may use some of these and other strata or unit dwellers will use some or all of the above however, due to the efficient nature of the use of land in a strata or unit development, such ratepayers effective use less. Examples provided belwo:Roads - At the meeting, it was presented that unts and stratas were more common and concentrated along the railline in the Willoughby LGA. This means that strata dwellers are using less of the Willoughby road system. So the 1000 new residents that will occupy the new Metro residences under the new fairer proposal are slugged for maintaining a road in say the far reaches of Castlecrag that may service 20 houses with say 3 occupants per house? WRONG! Such residents shoudl be praised and rewarded for choosing a more efficient lifestyle.Other services that the council provides it argues are provided to all and subsidised by the council. Whilst the service maybe great and delivered with a smile, why is the council not charging the users of these appropriately and yet aungering increased rates from those that can least afford it to subsidise these services? User pay is far more equitable for many number of the services above.Strata and apartments also provide a far greater economic benefit to the council than single dwelling land occupiers. Job creation as well as efficient use of land which leads to more expendable income per square metre and thus more financial prosperity for all in the Willoughby LGA. I will find it remiss of IPART if they approve this minimum rate increase. I am astounded that Willoughby Council are trying it on and hitting those that can afford it least and giving back money to those that arguably have benefitted most in capital growth of property.I look forward to your response and the response to Fairrates points and issues.
  • Chrissey1503 about 8 years ago
    I'm happy to pay more - but I also think Council needs to give more. When I was in the process of purchasing my property nearly three years ago, I called Willoughby Council at 3pm just prior to the Easter Long weekend searching for a building certificate on the property. I nearly fell off my chair when I was told that I shouldn't have called at this time. I was absolutely gob smacked!!!I also believe that there are some areas in our community such as TRAFFIC which need your urgent attention. The Traffic congestion now experienced on many of our main roads such as Eastern Valley Way - due to residents needing to park their vehicles there is a constant source of torture for all. I think that laws need to be relaxed in order to allow residents to park their cars on the nature strip area in order to help free up the traffic congestion this causes. To bring this all back into context... happy to pay more, but council needs to be actively DOING more to help our community.
  • Fairrates about 8 years ago
    I notice that Council is running another online forum at the moment called "What are important principles or values Council should adopt when communicating with you?". Council then lists the "Good Principles of Engagement" that it has developed as being:- "Transparency & Openness- Inclusive Communication- Active Listening- Access- Interaction- Genuine- Outcomes- Process- Connectivity- Response"My question is - Does Council intend to live up to all of these principles (which it itself has come up with) and fully respond to all of the concerns that I and others have raised on this forum with respect to the minimum rate increase (rather than just selectively responding to the points it wants to)? If not, why not?I would also point out that this forum is being administered by the public servants at the Council. It is not being run by the politians (ie elected councillors). Therefore, surely the obligation must be on the public service to respond to the all questions raised in this forum in a non-political and objective manner. The selective promotion of of only one side of the debate, and the selective answering of only some questions (to promote one side of the debate) must not be the approach of the public service. The councillors are clearly entitled to run their political agenda (and be judged by the electorate) - but this must be done in council meetings by the councillors, and not by non-elected public servants who must remain non-political. This forum should be about informing the community about the facts - the ideology must be left to the politicans. The public service to there to serve the public (hence the name), it is not there to be the promotional voice of the politicans.Also, can you clarify if this forum ends today or tomorrow (as you have listed the end as Friday 10th, however Friday is the 11th)? Furthermore, will you give a committment to reply to all outstanding comments by Friday 11th?Thank you.
    • Willoughby Admin about 8 years ago
      Hi Fairrates,The community engagement principles were developed through public meetings, staff workshops, Councillor workshops and online forums such as this one. Council aims to live up to these principles and our community consultation on this issue has been conducted with the principles in mind. In regards to replying to posts on this forum, some posts can be answered easily and quickly, whereas other posts require Council staff to research and make sure we have to correct information before responding. All posts requiring a response will be answered before the end of the consultation period. Yes, Council officers are responsible for replying to posts on this forum. The aim of this forum is to give the community a convenient method to provide feedback, which you have done. It is also the responsibility of Council officers to provide what they think is the best course of action to Councillors, who, guided by the information presented and community opinion, make the ultimate decision. Council officers have presented the community with information on this issue and also given the community an opportunity to provide feedback, which will considered by Council.This forum will run until Friday 11th November.