YOUR VOICE -YOUR CHOICE
Abuse of the Office of Mayor by Peter Besseling and the General Manager
In a Media Release dated 22nd August 2016, Port Macquarie Hastings Council has stated that they have no plans for a 52.4% rate rise.
This release comes one month after I launched my campaign to run as a Mayoral candidate. At the start of my campaign I exposed Councils planned rate increase which was documented in the late report by the General Manager and subsequent submission to the Minister for Local Government as part of the State Governments ‘Fit for the Future’ reform of Councils.
I have quoted the rate increase of 52.4% from IPART’s assessment of Port Macquarie Hastings Councils own submission and I have also highlighted the Council resolution of Peter Besseling and Councillors made on 17 June 2015 agreeing with the action plan to raise rates.
These documents are FACT.
Council’s media release today does not clearly address the rate rise issue. It only says ‘there is currently no plan to increase rates by 52.4%”.
Peter Besseling says “there is no resolution to apply for a rate increase and no application has been made for a rate increase”
The truth for those who have the smarts to see a political spin when one is given will understand that there is no application because Council cannot make it until the second week of February.
I contacted IPART last Friday and spoke at length with regards to the timeframe that Councils who are applying for a rate rise have. I was informed that Councils cannot make their applications until February and if they do not have their applications into IPART at that time they will miss the opportunity to be eligible for a special rate variation until the following year.
Council in their Fit for the Future submission clearly stated that they intended on applying for the rate rise and would seek 5 year duration of increases which would be cumulative.
In the same submission Council identified that risk for the rate rises not going ahead would be ‘that a new council may not commit to the proposed improvement action plan’.
Peter Besseling and the Councillors standing for re-election have all voted and agreed with the rate rise action plan. Previous Councillor Sharon Griffiths who is recontesting the election has recently announced that she will not support a 52.4% rate increase.
The previous Council have misled the Community with their Fit for the Future submission and have made a mockery of the State Government’s plan to reform local government with today’s Council media release.
Peter Besseling has used the office of Mayor with the support of the General Manager and the Councils communications department to combat candidates during the local government elections. The media release by Council today is an abuse of office.
The actions of Council and the incumbent Mayor Peter Besseling will be referred to the Office of Local Government for investigation and will also be referred to the NSW Electoral Commission.
I ask you is this the behaviour of a Council committed to transparency and integrity.