Can we still afford the town council?

p2062halduellOKIt’s an old adage that the power to tax is the power to destroy. Is that what the Alice Springs Town Council is doing to us? Can we still afford them?

 

A couple of examples spring to mind. In addition to that local favourite of international backpackers, Annie’s, three of our hotels may soon be going on the market.

 

There was little surprise in learning that the recent increases in power and water and the loss of Tiger Air had their parts to play, but it sounds like high Council rates were also a contributing factor in the decision to go.

 

And what about the high rents often spoken of  by small businesses struggling to stay open in the CBD? I have read nothing indicating these rents are in part necessary to cover high Council rates, but I do wonder if that is at least partially the case.

 

Admittedly it’s hard times across the board. Council also has higher power and water bills to meet, and that’s one of the reasons they give for wanting to sell some of our parks.

 

But in their struggle to stretch the annual rate revenue, is Council overlooking how much it’s costing them to operate as they do? Could savings be made within the structure of Council itself?

 

The new tip comes to mind here. Built with a government grant, or so I understand, and to a major city standard, now all of us from homeowners to small operators to large concerns are being asked to dig deep to use it.

 

Perhaps the underlying corporate attitude which Council uses to justify itself, and which is so apparent at the tip’s weighbridge, needs reviewing. And maybe pegging back a bit.

 

Or to ask the question another way, is our Council out of touch with the town it’s supposed to represent? Are they dealing with, and taxing, an imagined city they think they represent rather than the struggling town they do?

 

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3 Comments (starting with the most recent)

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  1. Steve
    Posted September 22, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    I am surprised no one has mentioned the biggest white elephant of them all, the heated town pool. A totally unnecessary facility that will continue to be a burden on all ratepayers for every day it remains open. Millions of dollars wasted by a council that has forgotten whom it represents.
    The town council needs to find a way to make sure all businesses pay their fair share of rates. Centrecorp, for example.

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  2. Peters
    Posted September 17, 2014 at 11:00 am

    Please to see this issue raised. Our rates are not just outrageous but increasing each year way beyond inflation.
    What first alerted me to the profligate ways of our council was when they designed their palatial new building.
    Not only was the expense not justified but it is far too large and therefore their power costs would have to be enormous.
    At the same time their lack of consideration for ratepayers was shown by leaving the old, cramped library out of the new building.
    That library should have been front and centre of the redevelopment so ratepayers could get some benefits.
    Instead, they spent millions on the council building and then asked the government to fund a library. Not surprisingly the request was turned down.
    I am convinced that the council is not focussed on saving our money but sees ever increasing rates as the solution to their annual expenditure shortfall.
    They are fast becoming a millstone around the neck of every ratepayer.

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  3. Elliott
    Posted September 17, 2014 at 8:28 am

    How about the arts. From memory last year we gave approx $10k to Leon Tripp to get a perentie piece of art work for the Undoolya Road round about. Drove past it the other day. No artwork to be found. And what is great about this is that the piece of art was going to be made of copper and metal. Great idea for a roundabout.
    [ED – Town Council CEO Rex Mooney replied: “Re the artwork for the roundabout: this is in progress and I hope to be able to give more information soon.”]

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