Last night at the council meeting as was expected the councillors all voted in favour of requesting the 9% increase. No real surprises there as Councillor Lucas, not long after he and his colleagues voted themselves the top pay as councillors, mentioned in a newspaper article the need for higher rates.
Here is his logic (as he was the main speaker in favour), when his term is done he wants to be remembered for having achieved things in Liverpool, noble one might say, but he wants to achieve his personal goals with more of our rate money. I don’t recall him saying, don’t pay me so much and we can do more things. Don’t get me wrong, our Councillors aren’t earning huge wages, but they sure made it clear that whatever was on offer was what they wanted. Now, 6 months in, not a great deal has been done and they can’t manage without our hefty increase.
As you can see by my post yesterday, I’m against 9% and borrowing more money. If absolutely necessary most of us could manage 4-5% (as we have in past years) but the reality for me is even though the councillors are saying its only $2 per week, it isn’t, we are hit with higher petrol charges, more electricity charges, higher water rates (just as Council is) and the list goes on. That $2.00 per week is now closer to $15-20 from the various companies with whom we must do business without even considering the increases all those fees have added to the grocery bill. My wages haven’t increased, my bills and services fees have and I don’t think I’m alone. Where does it stop? In my opinion it has to stop here, at a local level, with my council. They do a great job with enormous restrictions from both State & Federal governments. Each year they go backwards when it comes to their share of our taxes, but I do pay those taxes and I feel they/we need to lobby even harder with those Government departments to get a fairer share of our taxes not simply impose another fee.
This is not a perfect situation or idea, it has problems in that some of the services and maintenance issues we expect to be performed may be put on hold or delayed. New buildings and playing fields might not be built, but way too many of us are struggling now, many are losing jobs and others hang on tentatively hoping not to be the next one sacked. Ok for some in our community they’re fine but at council level we need to look at the overall and on the whole I think it’s tough.
As a footnote, Council is the largest business in Liverpool outside the Hospital; perhaps they need, as a business, to look at diversifying their earning options. Councils in other states and cities actually have divisions of council that earn an income, be it parking stations, worm farms or whatever…as silly as this might sound, there are options and I believe they need to be explored.