Cap opinion split

THE Port Lincoln City Council has decided to back a Local Government Association campaign opposing rate capping but the decision was not unanimous. 

Just one vote separated councillors’ views as Danny Bartlett, Jim Papazoglov, Diana Mislov and Linda Davies voted against the campaign and Neville Starke, Graham Mantle, Peter Jolley, Faye Davis and Andrea Broadfoot voted for it. 

Mr Bartlett said rather than the council accepting the association’s recommendations opposing rate capping, he would have preferred to see a more collaborative approach.

He said he would have liked to see the issue “come from the bottom up” as a result of a request or need from individual councils rather than the association’s top down approach.

Mr Bartlett said he supported rate capping in principle and could see how it would improve public confidence in the council. 

“At times having a rate cap to enforce harder decisions isn’t necessarily a bad thing,” Mr Bartlett said. 

“I think rate capping is a good idea.”

Mr Papazoglov said he supported rate capping as there were times when members of the community had to “tighten their belts” and the council should have to do the same.

He said the council should be living within its means without the backup option to pass unexpected costs onto the city’s ratepayers. 

Mr Papazoglov said it was a chance for the council to take greater control of its budget. 

Mr Starke said the council would be foolish not to support the campaign “all the way” but emphasised it was not a mandate to up rates.

He said one of the problems not mentioned in the debate was that unless costs that could not be capped, like compliance and electricity, were capped the council would soon run out of money. 

“Unless everything is capped, everything is frozen then rate capping won’t work,” he said. 

Ms Davis said she accepted the council had to draw its belt in at times but did not accept asking the state government to manage the council’s funds for it. 

“It is about being responsible, this is our community, our rates and each and every one of us were elected to make decisions on how we manage our funds,” she said. 

“It’s not saying we’re going to put up our rates, it’s about being responsible.”