12 Jun 2018
What do you know about the integrity of Monash Council?
Mayor Klisaris said that the council is disappointed with the Essential Service Commission (ESC) counter offer of 2.57% average rate rise (instead of the 3.53% council has sought).
The Monash community is even more disappointed with the Mayor’s response that refutes the ESC’s assessment outcomes and generous offer. It is because Monash Council has the financial capacity to absorb the increase in recycling waste costs and still remain in healthy surplus positions.
Yes, the council has not only lied to the ESC, but also its own community. Mayor Klisaris claimed that the council would deteriorate its financial position, notably reduced liquidity, if it doesn’t increase average rate to 3.57% rate next year.
BUT the mayor also conveniently forget to mention the ESC Decision and Deloitte reports, which reveal misleading and missing information provided by Monash Council in its higher cap rate application, that
- The council’s 2018/19 financial forecasts projected healthy financial positions for the next 4 years, including having more than ample cash on hand capacity to absorb the annual $1.5 million shortfall in recycling costs.
- Should the ESC reject the proposed 3.57% rate, Mayor Klisaris said that the council would impend to reduce
- discretionary community projects;
- assets renewal, however without disclosing a long term assets management plan and therefore has no evidence to support this second threat.
What makes Mayor Klisaris say all the misleading information and unfounded threats in his press release response to the ESC decision?
There are two types of people who become councillors. There are those who genuinely aim and achieve outcomes in the real interests of the Monash community and there are the “otherwise” people. The ESC Decision and Deloitte reports concluded that the council’s higher cap rate application is likely to over-charge rate-payers in the longer term. When people read these 2 reports, most people would realise that this council had reactively and hastily made a biased decision to lock in a high cost recycling waste contract with Visy and without due process and public engagement. Council also failed to disclose that it has received funds from the State Government to address this problem, which is faced by all councils in Victoria. Council’s decision making has broken the transparency, accountability and citizen partition principles of good governance, also embedded in the Local Government Act. The rule of law does not appear to be relevant in Monash Council’s leadership.
Back to the opening question, what do you know about the integrity of Monash Council? Yes, our council simply wants to increase rates, to avail more cash on hand, to spend more on discretionary projects. After all, federal and state elections are looming, and most people know some of our councillors are running for these elections. The good news for these councillors is that they can get the Monash ratepayers to foot their election campaigns via their discretionary programs.
One more thing – last year Mayor Lake tried to engage with the community to persuade ratepayers accept the introduction of a new waste charge, which is outside the constraints of the Local Government Minister’s rate capping policy. Ex-Mayor Lake failed. Monash is one of 7 remaining councils whose waste management costs are constrained by rate capping. By transferring waste management costs that are regulated by the Minister’s cap, to a new charge rate, Monash Council can increase its capacity to charge ratepayers and raise more discretionary money in the future.
Now Mayor Klisaris is campaigning to transform ex-Mayor Lake’s failure into his team Monash success, that he /council has no choice now, but to introduce a new waste charge and censure ESC for forcing the council to go against the will of the Monash community. A wicked problem strategy for manipulating decision making and public opinion – how would you feel about that?