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  • Rate Payers 'revolt'
  • By Ben Jones
  • 02/09/2016 Make a Comment
  • Contributed by: BigJoe ( 10 articles in 2016 )
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PORT Augusta spoke with their feet on Wednesday night, with over 300 congregating at West Augusta Football Club for a community-held rate payers meeting.

The meeting saw rate payers voice their anger and concerns with what they believe to be a sharp rise in this years council rates, and a continued culture over over spending from council.

Other issues brought up included fears surrounding the pressure of repayment schedules, and the apparent lack of a final resolution when repaying council debt.

Motions were passed to form a rate payers’ association, and a short-term committee to liaise with council and represent rate payers as a whole.

Questions from the floor were recorded are will be delivered to council in the coming days.

The meeting saw anger boil over on occasions, reducing hearty discussion to a slinging match.

At one stage, a motion of no confidence in council and its entire staff was forwarded, and passed.

However councillors, particularly those in attendance, were generally discussed in a positive light, compared with management and past elected members.

Meeting organiser Maralyn Marsh said she was ecstatic with the turnout, and expects more to come as a result.

"In 2016-17, some rate payers are paying 60-to-100 per cent additional ... this is unfair, but I suspect this will be resolved after the outcry from rate payers," Ms Marsh said.

"It's marvelous what a revolt of rate payers will do in a couple of days.”

Ms Marsh said she believes council has taken on too many services, and rate payers have become the only avenue to fund them.

“We’re the laughing stock of other towns and cities at the moment,” Ms Marsh said.

“No other business can just put up their revenue targets to cover their deficits.

“Port Augusta City Council doesn’t have a revenue problem, it’s got a spending problem.

“This current council is also trying really hard to fix up the bad decisions made by previous city managers, staff and councillors. We can’t blame any one person in isolation.”

Ms Marsh also commended Mayor Sam Johnson and council CEO John Banks on their open dialogue regarding the issue.

State Shadow Minister for Local Government Steven Griffiths was also in attendance, and outlined the State Liberal Party’s policy on council rate capping.

Some councillors were in attendance, while Mayor Johnson, State Local Government Minister Geoff Brock and Dan van Holst Pellekaan were apologies.

Tune in to The Transcontinental’s Facebook page and website on Friday afternoon for a response from Mayor Sam Johnson.


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