Once a narrative or story takes hold in a community, it's hard for facts to make much of a difference in people's minds. People don't really read charts, scientific studies, or do their own research when forming opinions. They read memes on Facebook, news articles that summarise things often in an over simplistic manner, and maybe discuss it with their friends at the pub/scrapbooking/footy training.
For example, for several years people believed mobile phone towers caused cancer. Despite data showing it not to be the case, successful community campaigns were held that resulted in towers being removed from locations near schools and child care centres.
So a question we wanted to find out the answer to was how high are Geraldton's rates compared to nearby locations? More specifically, since the very large 27% rate increase that occurred several years ago, have the rather modest increases since then done much to bring us back to par with our neighbours.
We decided to compare the rate increases over the last four years in Geraldton with neighbouring Chapman Valley. At one point in time CV was to merge with Geraldton. That never happened. Since then, rates have increased in both locations with many Geraldton residents under the impression Geraldton's rates have skyrocketed while Chapman Valley's rates barely budged.
It's not a fair comparison to simply place two rates notices side by side and compare them. That would be an apples to oranges approach.
So to keep things fair (and simple), we gave both Councils a starting number of 100 for 2011/12, then added to that the % increase each year.
Here's how they compared:
2012/13 - 7% increase: 107
2013/14 - 7% increase: 114.49
2014/15 - 6% increase: 121.36
2015/16 - 5.5% increase: 128.03
2012/13 - 27% increase: 127
2013/14 - 2.25% increase: 129.86
2014/15 - 4.7% increase: 135.96
2015/16 - 3.9% increase: 141.26
Using this index Greater Geraldton is higher by 13.23;
Which is 10.33% higher than Chapman Valley.
So the question:
Over the past four years have Greater Geraldton rates increased by more than Chapman Valley? Yes they have.
Is it a drastic difference? Debatable. Using this index Geraldton's rates have increased 10.33% more in four years than Chapman Valley's.
That's not to say that's good news, or bad news. It's just nice to know what the facts are. With the lower increases over the past 3 years, it's not 20% higher,
If CGG future rate increases are able to be kept below the 4% mark then it's possible Geraldton could come close to CV in the not-too-distant future, unless CV are also able to tighten their belts.