In 2006 whilst 80% of Greenough voters voted against merging with Geraldton, the City went ahead and merged anyway.
In 2011 83% of Mullewa voters voted against merging with Geraldton-Greenough and 80% of Geraldton voters against; again the will of the people was ignored.
These mergers led to a bloated administration that costed ratepayers upwards of $30 million since 2007 based on the $3.6 million we saved this year alone. Ratepayers were right!
When times got tough in early the early 2000’s rather than address costs our leaders decided to invest in failed financial products known as CDO’s, costing the City more than $2 million in lost capital and earnings.
The next solution was in 2012 to increase rates by 27% despite the protests from ratepayers. Astonishingly in 2013 a proposed rise of 7.2% was proposed after a massive public backlash from the year earlier. I fought hard against both of these rises and finally got to see some sense in 2013 when rates were lifted by only 1.5%. I fought for a freeze that year, as I believed we should be looking for savings. In 2015 my message is now getting through.
As Mayor I will ensure the voice of the community is always put to Council and is taken seriously. We need to move on from the old ways of Council not listening and begin respecting the will of the ratepayers. Too often when a ratepayer complains to me about a decision of Council, I ask them why they did not make a submission or attend a meeting and I get in reply “They don’t listen so why bother.” This is a sad state of affairs and we need to change our ways and restore confidence in our Council.
Let’s move on from the errors of our previous ways. Let’s live within our means and get Council focussed on what it is really supposed to be doing; providing day to day municipal services our City needs.
Written and Authorised by Shane Van Styn, 51 Gregory Street Geraldton WA 6530