A short post alerting residents to the fact that council has published its draft budget, community plan and also included plenty of planning applications in the current agenda – a massive 555 pages!

We will report on the first two in much greater detail once we have had the time to fully digest the documents. What follows are simply some overall first impressions:

  • The community plan is presented in a different format completely. The old ‘faults’ are still there however – ie. very little correlation between ‘objectives’ and assessment of these objectives. For example: on the theme of ‘informed and engaged’ one of the criteria for evaluating ‘success’ is recorded as “Rates per assessment will remain at the second lowest level of all metropolitan municipalities”.
  • If council is truly concerned about ‘transparency’ then we have to question why on page 101 of the draft budget council insists on highlighting the percentage increase for bins, rather than the actual cost increase – ie. “240 Litre Bin 1.95 per cent Increase” etc. Residents shouldn’t have to plough through hundreds of pages to be able to work out how much charges have increased. This is the first time we believe that this kind of presentation has been done.
  • For all the talk about open space expenditure, there appears to be zero allocated for the 2017/18 financial year according to the Strategic Resource Plan!
  • Rates of course are going up, as is every other single charge. Council has however stated that it will not be seeking a higher rate (mandated 2% increase) via an appeal to the Essential Services Commission.

On other matters –

  • Parking restrictions around the hospital will not change – despite protest after protest and nothing really forthcoming from the proposed ‘advocacy’ to Caulfield Hospital
  • More applications in for extended heights – Neerim Road going for 4 storeys when a previous permit application was successful for 3 storeys. Officer recommendation? – permit. We are also mightily amused by this argument in favour of the permit – The new top floor balcony is proposed to be setback approximately 6 metres from the street. It is considered that this setback is appropriate having regard to the approved setback of the fourth storey of the building to the east (253 Neerim Road) at approximately 6 metres.
  • For another application council officers see nothing wrong in waiving 5 car parking spaces for shops!

Watch this space!