Rockhampton mayoral candidates on council and rates
Rockhampton voters will be rich with choice come January 23.
To help electors organise their preferences, we asked mayor hopefuls for a brief outline of their ideas and policies regarding 10 topics of interest.
Over the coming days, The Morning Bulletin will publish their answers.
Any excluded candidates did not respond in time for publication or chose not to comment on the issue at hand.
The first topic is the council and council rates.
- Ensure that the structure of the organisation is aligned with what best serves the community. This will include a review of council operations to determine efficiencies and improvements that can support other proposed changes.
- Evaluate priorities and functions within council to ensure alignment with community priorities and expectations, and identify cost savings to reduce demand on rates. Expenditure of rates needs to be focused on value not just amount.
- Create the necessary procedures/policies/structure to facilitate true community consultation, collaborative partnerships, joint determination of priorities and general accessibility of community sectors to the council, i.e. to ensure council is focused on community first at all times.
- Endeavour to keep future rate increases as close to the CPI as possible.
- Audit and streamline council services to provide assistance in getting development applications to within 12 months approval small and large.
- Have weekly toolbox talks with council staff to look at improvements in productivity and any safety issues.
- Cut any waste by ensuring that spending is controlled and the use of consultants is minimised as well as looking at prioritising mediation instead of court action.
- Team of councillors make decision.
- Requires much discussion and deliberation.
- Many factors and impacts to consider.
- Need to be fiscally-responsible budget.
- Impose rehiring freezes on indoor roles and provide extensive apprenticeship and trainee programs to lower council salary commitments, become a skills provider and focus on roads, water, parks and other external services.
- Pass all cost savings after council commitments onto residents by lowering rates, fees and water rates.
- Provide ongoing public disclosure of major spending for past, present and future, including successful and unsuccessful feasibility studies, business cases, etc.
- Assess all council owned properties for investment and development opportunities.
- Rates should be kept to a minimum.
- Council should improve response times. Responding to complaints should take no longer
than within 48 hours and development approvals should take no longer than 28 days.
- Council should introduce random drug testing for all council employees.
- Over time I would like to work with councillors to rake through policies andprocedures to reduce red tape and refine what's not working.
- Identify and action efficiencies and innovation in the delivery of council projects and services.
- Prioritise and consolidate the very long list of projects council is investing time, resources and finances into to focus on those initiatives that provide jobs and growth.
- Provide a further rebate for pensioners and limit general rates to the Council Cost Index.
- Move the rates notice period from January and July to February and August to provide ratepayers with more breathing space after Christmas and a greater opportunity to partake in the council discount period.
- Ensure the Council spend on roads, sewerage and storm water is adequate to stay in front of repairs and replacements, as it will cost the ratepayers much more in the future if this is not the case. If not, the Region could miss out on other opportunities as a result of inaction.
- Region residents, regardless of age or ability, will enjoy a continued connectivity program for footpaths and cycle ways. Children's playgrounds should be inclusive for all.
- Freeze rates for the first 12 months.
- Look at implementing technology to better help the community be involved in the council as well as how the community interacts with itself and the community.
- Build stronger ties with our neighbouring shires to help form a strong bond to fight for
resources and investment against the south east corner.
- Increase the community's involvement of councils activities and plans.
- I propose a rate freeze for the next 12 months at the CPI and will work hard to keep them there for the next two years.
- Look at improving efficiencies within council expenditure.
- Reward those excelling within different teams and develop a culture of achievement.
- Continue to work with state and federal governments to advance Rockhampton, and definitely work hard to develop closer ties with Livingstone Shire Council.
- Back to Basics: roads, water, sewerage and garbage before big projects.
- Reduce waste.
- Better use of resources.
- Concentrate on ensuring efficiency.
- Work towards more transparency for the community to earn trust.
- Focus on a more clean, green, environmentally responsible council.
- Aim for rates reduction if possible.
Chris (Pineapple) Hooper
- The council uses the rate payer to cough up for its big mistakes, like the levee bank and clickey clack on the river bank; they work out how much they can get out of the rates payer to make their creative accounting look good.
- The Rockhampton community deserves to know our council is doing everything possible behind the scenes to keep rates as low as possible, spend responsibly and minimise red tape.
- I've committed to limiting rate increases to CPI. This is a responsible approach to budget management. I've also committed to appointing a Reform and Savings Portfolio Councillor, who will be tasked with working with the CEO, chief financial officer and general managers to pursue internal savings and efficiencies to improve service and project delivery as well as identify responsible savings.
- I've also committed to a series of transparency and corporate governance initiatives to improve public confidence in council, including strengthening the council employee secondary employment and conflict of interest registers; enhancing the councillor travel policy to ensure travel always meets community expectations; improving live streaming of council meetings; and publishing portfolio meeting agenda and minutes, as well as the calendars of the mayor and CEO.