As a result of a long history of poor forward thinking, the City today is forced to close an asset renewal gap of at least $6 million a year. In more recent times the answer was simply to raise rates in order to fund asset renewal and repairs.
This I find unacceptable and have fought hard to lower rate rises. I strongly opposed the 27% rise of 2012. This year after significant lobbying by myself and some of the current Councillors, aided by the community and driven by the CEO we have seen significant cost savings of more than $3.6 million implemented. Unfortunately this has led to a reduction of more than 40 staff at the City.
As Councillors who lead the City we must also share in this pain and reduce our numbers.
Currently we have 14 Councillors plus a Mayor. I will seek to reduce this to 9 Councillors plus the Mayor. I will also call for a review to see if 7 Councillors plus the Mayor is also viable.
By reducing the City wards from 6 to 4 we can reduce Councillors by 4. If we cut to 3 wards we could reduce Councillors by a further 2. The Mullewa ward must remain but the number of Councillors should be reduced from 2 to 1. This would save as a minimum $150,000 to $210,000 per year depending on which option was chosen.
As we expect City staff to work harder and drive efficiencies and as we expect community groups to share in cutbacks, Councillors must do the same. The process will need to commence from the next election in 2017, providing sufficient time for community consultation to determine boundaries and the desired level of representation.
I ask voters to elect me as their Mayor to move on from prior poor decision making and set a fresh direction for our City by restoring the community’s confidence in it.
Shane Van Styn
Candidate for Mayor for the City of Greater Geraldton
0417 910 005