What do you think about the projects that the extra revenue will be spent on if the Special Variation is approved?

over 6 years ago
CLOSED: This map consultation has concluded

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  • Lexi over 10 years ago
    If the primary reason that BMCC needs to significantly increase rates (outside of the level pegged by the DLG) is to pay for the cultural centre in Katoomba, then I think it is very unfair. There are no capital works planned for my village. In fact, almost all the recent investment in my village has been by the state government (Sydney Water and RTA).

    While council splashes out on an unnecessary building for the upper Mountains, it is hell-bent on imposing on the Springwood community a PPP that it does not want. Why is council so eager to pay for Katoomba's anchor tenant but so willing to sell out Springwood to Woolworths/Coles?
    Hide Replies (2)
    • McGinty over 10 years ago
      Living in Katoomba, I agree with you, Lexi. Its not just about equity between local areas, there is a major issue of efficiency and good financial management.

      We need to be realistic about what we spend our money on. How much has the cultural centre already cost? Why has it had a director all this time, without even a sod being turned?
      Hide reply (1)
      • Jackie8 over 10 years ago
        I agree with Lexi & McGinty - BMCC lacks good financial management. Infrastructure is only as good as the people it serves. The increase in rates proposal for lower mountain residents mean that they will pay more rates and possibly bear the cost of an ill conceived plan to rebuild the Springwood Civic Centre & library - two perfectly functioning buildings just in need of some retro fitting. Furthermore, as residents of this City, we will all shoulder the huge ongoing costs to operate these (new) facilities for many years to come.
  • eyevest over 10 years ago
    What a balmy nonsense to slug ratepayers.
    Obviously this Council needs to be replaced
    as inefficient and ineffective.except to feather their nest
    further.
    Enough is enough no special variation to the rates, which will increase anyway
  • doggone over 10 years ago
    Having read and understood that there are 27 towns and villages all with expectations about community infrastructure and services, looked at the financial projections for the Council and then reflected on where the money is to be spent, I am in support of 'user pays'. Rate pegging for 35 years appears to have hamstrung the Council as they slipped further behind annual CPI increases. If this is what it takes to live in my village, surrounded by National Parks and a World Heritage Area then I am willing to pay.
  • deek over 10 years ago
    I think council should concentrate their energy on providing proper kerb & guttering,parks with playground equipment and provide a maintenance plan to their sporting fields instead of upping the rates. Once this is done, then I may support their application.
  • Alchemist over 10 years ago
    I have noted that in Fact Sheet 3 - Council's annual income and expenditure. Councils main revenue is Rates (ie the ratepayer) @ 44%. This makes the ratepayer the major source of income.
    Well, it MUST then be noted that councils highest area of expenditure is employee costs @ 37%.
    I wish to see a statement made within this Special Variation as to the Councils executives commitment towards no further pay increases (specifically the executive staff) over the following 3-4year period...
    Let's see if the EXECUTIVE is gutsy enough to possibly even take a paycut!!!
    Hide Replies (2)
    • waratah over 10 years ago
      Removed by moderator.
    • wesson over 10 years ago
      It would seem to me that if 44% or almost half of Council revenue is generated from rates, then a rate increase is the most obvious way to generate the revenue required to both maintain our current infrastructure and plan for the community's future infrastucture needs. What other alternatives are there?
  • waratah over 10 years ago
    I accept we live in a very unique situation. Our city is a long ribbon stretched through a world heritage area, not a consolidated locality surrounded on all sides by other Councils. I want to live with libraries, good roads, recreation facilities, bushfire and environmental protection. So I am realistic that it should cost more.
    Hide Replies (8)
    • cladinshadows over 10 years ago
      You are on the money waratah! The Blue Mountains is indeed in a vary unique situation which does require the council to increase it rates. Its not the point of whether councils highest expense is its employees.... (if it where truly the issue here... every business and company would be dire straits) This is an issue which waratah pointed out of our "unique situation".... check out the stats on the ABS (Australian Bureau of Statisitc) website. BMCC covers 1431 square kms, of only 30% is in public/private ownership (the other 70% being national parks) which means 70 500ppl live over a 429 square kms of land and public facilities. Compare this to other Local Government Areas (LGA) such as Liverpool, covering 305 square kms with 160 000ppl, or Campbelltown 312 square kms with 139 000 ppl.... the maths is starting to show. The BMCC has a 25% greater area of land to cover for public works than any other council area with AT LEAST half the amount of money raised from rates... It only takes a little research to find the underlying issue here... and it not to do with the effectivess of how council is running... its more of the sustainability of population to land size. If anything, we as residents of our communities need to lobby both the state and federal governments for longer term funding for the Blue Mountains to take the pressure of residents in carrying the financial burden in making and maintaing capital work programs in the area
      Hide Replies (7)
      • kedumba over 10 years ago
        As the major route west from Sydney the council should have its hand out to either state or federal government to help fund any infrastructure even remotely related to the highway. As the GWH gets busier & busier (which it indeed will) great efforts must be made to make this central artery work for & not against the local residents. Fanciful ideas of new roads or tunnels across the mountains are generally unrealistic & are very unlikely to be approved in our UNESCO controlled national park. Designated bike paths along the highway would be a start in a community that is embracing bike ownership more & more. More non-highway connections between villages (Hazelbrook-Lawson & Wentworth Falls - Leura are two that come to mind). Even a bitumen connection between Medlow Bath & Blackheath on the west side of the railway line could encourage local use. We are stuck with this highway in the middle of our city but it isn't going anywhere in our lifetimes. Less semi-trailers hauling goods & more freight trains would also improve the highway but that isn't up to the council. Lets not forget that this city, with little room for expansion & an amazing natural setting so close to Australia's largest city will become one of the most sort after locations to live in Australia in the next few decades (if it already isn't). We need a council that is capable of managing such a location
      • jayman over 10 years ago
        cladinshadows,
        this is an absurd and most likely disingenuous argument, to wit;
        considering the ratio of land area to population, compared to urban councils.

        Only a tiny percentage of the bush area is tended by council funds, the rest is left to grow as it pleases, and displeases, especiallly when we see council allowing fuel build up alongside roads!

        Also, I think council employees and their relatives should have to declare their bias in forums like this.

        Understandably they want to keep their jobs, but that is not the issue here, it is bringing the council to account for its fiscal incompetence and the mismanagement of employee time, projects, planning and community priorities.
        Hide Replies (5)
        • Lawsonite over 10 years ago
          "Also, I think council employees and their relatives should have to declare their bias in forums like this."

          And councillors, past and present, should they be commenting in these forums.
          Hide Replies (3)
          • wesson over 10 years ago
            I totally disagree are they not members of the community and entitled to have their input?
            Hide reply (1)
            • Lawsonite over 10 years ago
              Yes, councillors are members of the community but they also have their politicial party members they can draw on here to support them which gives them an unfair advantage over ordinary ratepayers.
          • MikeParker over 10 years ago
            I feel everyone should be able to have their say however they want to. This forum enables people to make comments without being publically identified. I am happy for people to know what I think and I don’t expect everyone to agree with me. I am really happy when we get a lot of feedback both positive and negative so we can truly judge what people really think.

            I would just encourage everyone to have their say no matter what their past or current background is.

            I thank the BMCC for enabling us to provide feedback. I just hope the council will take note.
        • Insider over 10 years ago
          "Also, I think council employees and their relatives should have to declare their bias in forums like this. "

          Being a Council employee doesn't necessarily mean that the person is is pro-Council and everything it does. Council employees pay rates (though not all obviously) and should be entitled to their view being known as well. Anyway, this isn't a forum for just one side of the argument.
  • Hazelbrook78 over 10 years ago
    If it is approved, I would like to see the money spent on better storm water management and gutters. There are too many roads in the villages that have neither of these in place. I find it ridiculous that developers are forced to include this in their developments when it covers perhaps 50m of a street and the rest is left without. Whats the point??
    Hide reply (1)
    • MikeParker over 10 years ago
      See Fact Sheet 9 “Proposed Expenditure of Special Variation Revenue” - it includes $100,000 to change door locks, $80,000 to refurbish the lift in the Council HQ, $1,000,000 on Glenbrook Pool and $139,526 to allow banners to be installed on lightpoles just to highlight a few thing proposed. The full list of $17,204,799 is listed and makes very interesting reading.
  • Aggie over 10 years ago
    I live in an area of the BMCC which is not within one of the 27 villages or towns mentioned in the the recent letter received from the Mayor.
    The area where I live lies between Bell and Mt Tomah on the Bells Line of Road and is at the furtherest distance within BMCC from most of the infrastructure projects to which the special variation is to be applied.
    I understand that these projects are all important to the more populated areas and I am sure that the buildings, amenities and road improvements are absolutely necessary for these communities both now and into the future.

    However those of us that live "on the other side" of the valley stand to gain very little from the increased rates or the special projects.
    Currently we see little value for our already quite high rates outside a weekly garbage collection and an annual curb side clean up and limited annual chipping service.
    In fact where I live there is no real curbside to speak of. Our local community road is an all weather gravel road that has no proper drainage system so every time it rains the road is badly eroded. We get a lot of rain so this erosion happens very regularly. Discussions with BMCC have highlighted that it costs more to grade a couple of times a year and repair the damage than replace with a sealed road but so far no 'cost saving' by improving the road has been planned and I do not see reference to such expenditure in the special projects list.
    I have no problem contributing to the benefit of the 'greater good'. I am sure most of my current rate payments are going toward supporting BMCC activities located in the villages and towns. So I think those of us living on the north western side outside of these communities are already contributing to facilities etc that we never or rarely use. (My closest BMCC village has very few BMCC provided amenities and is more than 20 km away.)
    Surely increased rates could be done in proportion to the number of BMCC projects assigned for each rate payer region? E.G. the more amenities, sports fields, libraries and improved footpaths and kerbs etc in an area the higher the percentage of increase in rates would be assigned to rate payers in that area.
    Surely this would seem a fairer user pays system than a blanket increase.
    I am absolutely in favour of more funds for our Rural Fire Services and Emergency Services. I would be happy to pay the additional $42.80 annual increase to support the provision of these services.
    Hide reply (1)
    • mt tomah over 10 years ago
      I am a resident of Mt Tomah and am amazed at the high rates and lack of services. These are higher than I pay for a property in Sydney, yet I get much more amenity around my property down there, including magnificently maintained beaches/parks/cultural/community facilities.

      I understand that these additional rates are contributing to the greater good, but we at Mt Tomah see very little of our community investment, especially not in the areas listed by Council in their recent letter:
      - footpaths, kerbs and gutters (NONE)
      - sport and recreation (NONE)
      - drainage and pipelines (NONE)
      - town centres (NONE)
      - operational and community buildings (NONE)

      Council also claim the amount will support the RFS. The Mt Tomah RFS is critically underfunded and relies on the generosity of local residents, despite the location of the nearby culturally and ecologically-valuable Botanic Gardens. Like Aggie, I am happy to pay more for the RFS but not amenities 45-60 minutes away I will never use.

      I propose that the rates raised from Mt Tomah and nearby residents is 100% put directly into the Mt Tomah Volunteer RFS.

      +++PLEASE HIT "AGREE" TO LODGE YOUR SUPPORT+++
  • Timbeck over 10 years ago
    I would like to know if council has lost any revenue by investing in overseas investment markets that have crashed and are now trying to gouge more money from us, the ratepayers, to increase there coffers. It appears that council along with both state ane federal governments are happy to slug us for all of their failures. Every level of government seem to believe that we have an endless supply of money and continue to try and rip it out from us.
    Hide reply (1)
    • jayman over 10 years ago
      Timbeck,
      according to another rate payer,on this forum, WE LOST (our rates money) $15 MILLION in the USA sub-prime market real estate swindle.

      Maybe we all should demand the financial officers responsible for losing our rates money be held accountable?

      That, I would suggest, is the first matter to be dealt with, way before any attempt to gouge us of any more money
  • gregm1999 over 10 years ago
    What projects? The only thing I can see is they want the money for a cultural centre in katoomba, how the heck is this going to advantage anyone on the lower mountains is beyond me, perhaps the councillors could take a pay cut to pay for it instead or perhaps dont go on any sister city trips might find the money instead of the ratpayer for a change!
  • Lawson-ite over 10 years ago
    I would hope that priority is given to funding support to the Rural Fire Service/State Emergency Service/improvement of fire trail management for the safety of the entire community without a rate increase. Couldn't sport and recreation facilities including pools be run by private enterprise or clubs with users paying memberships to finance costs?
  • barramundi4 over 10 years ago
    Council tells us that the money will be used to increases resources for emergency services and to upgrade facilities, with $6million dollars to be spent on ‘transport including footpaths, kerbs and gutters’.

    What about footpaths as well? How many well-established streets have little or no kerbing, guttering or footpaths? Before deciding whether the proposed rate rise is reasonable, Council might like to tell us some more about how the money will be spent in the kerbing and guttering area, details such as:

    1. How much is currently spent on kerbs and gutters each year?
    2. What is the total length of kerbing and guttering we get each year?
    3. Will the additional money raised by the increased rates provide for a total increase in the amount of kerbing and guttering that is carried out each year?
    4. Or will this extra money just replace what little money is currently spent on kerbing and guttering?
  • julie.s over 10 years ago
    Complete rubbish! These things (footpaths/guttering/sporting facilities/water resource management etc) should be happening as a matter of course and not require an excessive rate rise to achieve them. Council needs to review those projects, such as the Katoomba Cultural Centre, that are expensive and beneficial to only a very small part of the community and sort its priorities out! If council doesn't have the money - don't do these over the top things and concentrate on getting the fundamentals right. That's what I pay my rates for!
  • MikeParker over 10 years ago
    I have already substantially put this comment in the “Should the Council decrease, maintain or increase the existing level of built assets and infrastructure?” section but it is probably more appropriate in this section.

    I have just had a look at what the Special Variation of Rates is going to be spent on in Fact Sheet 9 “Proposed Expenditure of Special Variation Revenue” and I would scrap the lot and start again. In fact, I suggest you publish, in detail, on this website all the proposed capital works and let the community comment what they really want their money spent on.

    There are items in this list which have merit and also items in the existing capital works which have merit but in my opinion there are a lot which can easily be delayed or removed totally.
    Hide reply (1)
    • wesson over 10 years ago
      Is it possible for Council to provide a complete listing of items with budget allocations on this site and allow the community to prioritise their selections based upon cost and need?
  • Blaxlandite over 10 years ago
    I am totally against the Special Variation. As a lower mountains resident, these localities pay the highest residential rates and see the least for their dollars which goes to the upper mountains and the tourist areas.

    Council should work within its budget without this extra slug on ratepayers. I pay currently $1,539.00 rates and see very little in this area of Blaxland for it.

    Stop these special projects and just provide the basic services that people want, like tidy towns, litter and graffeti removed regularly, street gutters swept of leaves, grass cut, weeds sprayed. Often I am ashamed to live at Blaxland and to see the neglect by Council of the area.
  • Mountaineer over 10 years ago
    I for one like the fact my street has no kerbing and guttering. It feels less like the suburbs and I'm not sure a strip of concrete in front of my house is something that will enhance it.

    Regarding the RFS: Why isn't additional funding being sought from the State and Federal government?
    Considering we live in a World Heritage Area, which by definition is important to the global community, why are the resident's expected to foot the bill for it's protection?
    Hide reply (1)
    • Lawsonite over 10 years ago
      Couldn't agree more on all three points. Only wish my street hadn't have been kerbed and gutted.
  • BigMack over 10 years ago
    I feel that the projects that the extra revenue will be spent on are unaffordable.

    I can not afford to have a rate rise, but I have no choice if it is passed.

    I can not afford to buy new cloths, so I chose not to.
  • Keithm over 10 years ago
    Like almost all others in this forum, I am comprehensively opposed to the proposed rates increase. My reasons are largely covered by other contributors.

    Most importantly though, all concerned parties should note that this forum does not carry any weight and as such your comments and concerns are unlikely to be considered to any degree by council. On one page on the council website appears the following fine print:

    "This (www.bluemountainshaveyoursay.com.au) website is independent of Council. You can browse the information or 'Sign-Up' to provide comments on any aspect of the Draft Plans via the ‘Forum’ section of the webpage. Please note that COMMENTS MADE THROUGH THIS WEBSITE ARE ANONYMOUS AND AS SUCH CANNOT BE CONSIDERED AS A FORMAL PUBLIC SUBMISSION on the draft plans."

    So if you want you voice to be heard you need to lodge a formal submission by downloading the form here:

    http://www.bmcc.nsw.gov.au/yourcouncil/integratedplanningforservices

    and sending it back to the council by email by 5.00pm today. Methinks this may just be another bit of jiggery-pokery by council to engineer a way in which residents’ express concerns can legally be ignored.

    NOT impressed!

    Send in your submissions the “official” way today by 5.00pm and make sure your voice is heard!
    Hide reply (1)
    • quickfish over 10 years ago
      Where you asked when they planned the cultural centre?