LETTERS 19.8.17

Baysy budget blow out
I AM writing to you in reference to the City of Bayswater’s budget and rate increase this year and in support of your correspondent George Bouzidis (“Baysy Beef”, Voice letters, August 12, 2017).
The city of Bayswater has increased their rates by a reported 4.9 per cent this year.
The actual increase to ratepayers is 6.9 per cent (rates raised go from $41.9million in 2016/17 to $44.8m this year, an additional $2.9m dollars).
The difference is due to changes in the Gross Rental Value of properties, which ratepayers have to wear.
When incomes after tax are rising at a fraction of this amount this should be of great concern to all ratepayers.
There are two issues contributing to this excessive increase.
Firstly, the council is budgeting to pay $2m to purchase the Carter block in response to a campaign run by the ‘No Houses in Wetlands’ group.
You can argue about the propriety of this decision but a major issue is that this $2m is in the budget and will be compounded on for ever more with each year’s rate increase (I can’t imagine that the council will reduce their rate take next year, once this expenditure is completed).
The second issue is the fact that employee costs been budgeted to increase from $32m to $34.9m, an increase of 9 per cent.
Either a lot of staff are getting massive pay increases or there is a lot of empire building taking place.
In fact, there is enough money for both!
I wonder if the city is on the list of ‘high risk councils’ identified by the department of local government recently?
Doug McLennan
Ivory St, Noranda

Time wasters
AFTER watching Monday night’s damning Four Corners episode, ‘Trashed’ on ABC TV, I attended last night’s city of Stirling council meeting (August 8).
I was outraged by the lack of transparency around the council’s proposed burning of municipal solid waste.
Councillors refused to answer my questions about this secret polluting Waste-to-Energy proposal during public question time.
WTE facilities emit more pollutants into the air than coal-fired power plants. They pump out more carbon dioxide per megawatt than coal.
And incinerators are the most expensive source of electricity generation.
It’s misleading to classify WTE as a renewable energy!
Let’s make it clear; burning is not recycling.
Stirling council should promote ways to discourage our throwaway society, such as limiting single use items, getting rid of plastic packaging, and banning plastic bags!
Many countries around the world are doing this—it’s the least we can do in Stirling.
WTE plants are a ‘waste-for-profit’ business model that makes for money the more waste it burns.
If a minimum tonnage is not met, will Stirling council be fined for not supplying enough waste?
Will this lead to an increase in rates to pay for infringement costs?
These questions need to be answered.
It’s a slippery slope when we to come to rely on waste as fuel.
WTE plants are expensive, create health and environmental problems through increased air pollution, such as toxic dioxins, furans and radioactive alpha emitter Am 241, and this could lead to increased cancer risks.
Plus, there are additional risks of malfunction, fire, explosion, and the plant not operating at the correct temperatures.
Financial conflicts of interest must not compromise our decision-making, but secret discussions mean we residents don’t know if any councillors have financial interests in these toxic waste industries.
Did anyone remove themselves from discussions due to a conflict of interest? The WA state government has implemented a Zero Waste policy—Stirling council should do the same.
WTE is a step backwards.
We need to support new local jobs in sorting, recycling and reprocessing waste, not the 8-10 people employed at an incineration plant.
That’s how to make money from muck!
Lisa Thornton
Main Street, Osborne Park

By George
GEORGE Bouzidis’ letter “Baysy beef” (Voice, August 12, 2017)  won the ‘letter of the week’ prize and deservedly so.
However he should have got a medal.
Now we’ll have to wait for the reaction from the entrenched and smug members of Bayswater council.
Mr Bouzidis, might expect to be put into the ‘naughty  corner’ along with any other recalcitrant fifth formers, because that is where this critic of council has been placed.
A matter that had its origins in 2012, was regarded as life-threatening then and still is, was first dealt with by council employees, not the city, and was apparently allowed to be so by a council ignorant of the facts during the period when Cr McKenna was, I believe, deputy mayor.
Since that time, this writer has tried to get to the bottom of things and for some answers to questions of probity and ratepayer safety.
At the root of the matter is a process of tree risk assessment, that is claimed to be the best there is, but the UK developers of that system have failed to endorse the city’s tree risk report that is in my possession, despite that same UK agency being twice given the opportunity to do so.
That same report was accepted and paid for by the city of Bayswater and it can be shown to be absolutely unreliable, lacking in scientific merit, containing an unsubstantiated opinion and is one that allowed risk to my life and well being to continue until I took other action.
And as the city couldn’t find answers to my questions it took evasive action, telling me that the city would no longer deal with me on the matter.
But, of interest is the fact that when that motion was voted upon, all except one councillor voted for it.
Their decision of those in favour was based on allegations that were never challenged or substantiated.
I was  portrayed as something of a nuisance in the minutes  and that my claims were without merit and the minuted record of that October 2016 meeting is perceived to have been a bullying tactic that was intended to intimidate this writer, even to besmirch my character.
Perhaps it is time for the minister for local government David Templeman to take a hand.
Vincent J. McCudden
Almondbury Street, Bayswater 

Congratulations, Lisa Thornton! You’ve won our letter of the week competition and a $50 lunch voucher from The Terrace Hotel Restaurant, 237 St Georges Terrace. We hope you leave nothing to waste on your plate! If you would like to be in the running for letter of the week, make sure you email us your ripper at news@perthvoice.com.

One response to “LETTERS 19.8.17

  1. The city of bayswater outsources just about every facet of it’s municipality besides its administration, which you wonder what they do if private contractor’s do everything for them. Privatisation is meant to save money is it not? With cost savings passed on to rate payers. So why do we see our rates hemorrhaging every year?

    I’ve come to realise that privatisation is really about bloated bureaucrat’s absconding from any responsibility while the rest of us plebs scramble for the crumbs on ever diminishing work conditions

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