Tuesday, 17 April 2012
Mayor Val Schier says she will promote a return of the 5% discount for early payment of rates, after it was axed within weeks of her 2008 election, that also saw a rate increase.
''We know that people have been doing it tough over the past few years and have become increasingly concerned about the rising cost of living,'' Val Schier said. ''That's why I've decided to re-introduce a 5% discount for early payment of rates. This will provide some relief to families facing increasing electricity, grocery and fuel bills.''
Schier says the discount was removed in 2008 on the advice of Council finance staff.
I find it it amazing, a Councillor's first loyalty and responsibility is to the people that vote, yet Val and every other Councillor, besides Robert Pyne, voted to axe the discount arrangement within days of the new Council sitting. It's not rocket science to realise that the scheme was of direct support for ratepayers, at a time when the economy in Cairns was heading the wrong way, and to this day, has not recovered.
''The effects on the community were not fully apparent at the time,'' Val Schier says. ''The discount provided some relief to families, pensioners and business owners against ever rising costs.''
Schier says that it's not possible to prevent rate rises, especially over the last four years.
Val Schier justifies the continual rate increases, that occurred alongside the city's highest recorded unemployment of anywhere in the country - that hit 15% - yet this was not warning to realise that some substantial Council business needed to be ceased, as any good business manager would have done.
The majority of Cairns councillors have performed poorly in managing the city's finances and each year presenting a budget that requires more and more money to fund.
Why they sat their and lapped up direction from staff to tell them what to do, shows extraordinary incompetence.
''Every council across Queensland had rate rises above the CPI for this period,'' Val Schier says. ''We'll be able to fund this discount through savings created by Council's recently completed voluntary redundancy program where staff costs have been reduced by $4 million.''
To reward a group of Councillors with re-election who have made us all pay more and more every year without addressing or acknowledging the severe economic woes we have been in, shows a fundamental breach of duty.