Clarence Valley Council building on Prince Street, Grafton.
Clarence Valley Council building on Prince Street, Grafton. x

LETTER: Rate rise proposal a council money grab

IT APPEARS that some Clarence Valley councillors still don't get it. Increasing council rates should be the very last option they consider to balance their books, not the very first.

While some ratepayers may be able to afford to continue to subsidise the incompetent management of council operations, there are so many local people who exist on limited or fixed incomes and they will be devastated by the substantial rate increase CVC is now proposing.

>> RELATED: Why a 9% rate rise means your rates will go up by only 4.3%

The case council is mounting for the new Special Rate Variation (SRV) is totally devoid of objectivity as they try to present this money grab as the only viable option for their future viability. I have just completed their online survey and it is an utter disgrace.

CVC obviously employs too many overpaid, underworked bureaucrats who put this rubbish together along with media releases and mail-out brochures that just drip with pro-SRV spin.

It's worth reminding councillors that they were elected to run a council, not a local version of Centrelink, and a clean-out of top-level management is way overdue.

Proper scrutiny of projects and running within project budgets would be another major contribution to financial sustainability for CVC.

The "super dooper" depot planned for South Grafton is just the latest in a tragic list of CVC projects set to balloon massively over-budget. After denigrating advice regarding asbestos contamination at the depot site, CVC has revealed that they now have a multi-million-dollar asbestos problem to add to the many other issues that this project will create.

I'm loathe to suggest more asset sales after the fiasco surrounding the disposal of CVC properties in the last 12 months to help pay for the depot. I also realise that Maclean is chief target for the next round of asset sales and the Maclean library is near the top of the list.

I hope CVC is ready for a fight over this sale that they will not forget for a very long time.

I urge local people to communicate with our councillors and urge them to address the very real problems that have been neglected by previous councils. CVC didn't become unfit for the future by accident and it didn't happen overnight.

Feeding more money into the same structure will fix nothing and it will hurt the most vulnerable in our community.

It's time to say "NO".

Bill Day, Yamba

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