LETTER TO THE EDITOR:
I ATTENDED the Wellington Shire Council meeting on Tuesday, March 21, because the report from the submissions committee was being presented regarding my formal opposition for the proposed Dundas St South Special Charge Scheme.
I was provided with a copy of their report the day before, and believed it contained several errors.
In a three-page presentation to the council I pointed out what I believed were errors and inconsistencies in the submissions committee rEeport and asked the councillors to reject the report or at the least postpone any decision making until they felt fully informed of all the facts.
My request seemed to fall on deaf ears as the council proceeded to move, second and, as no one objected, passed the report with what I felt like was indecent haste.
I find it ludicrous that I stood before council and stated that the report contained errors and inconsistencies, yet it was still accepted.
For me, it is not about the money any more; it is about the principle.
Section 163 of the Local Government Act 1989 requires there to be a special benefit to the persons required to pay for a special charge scheme.
The owners of the Dundas St properties were not told this at our initial meeting with council.
I feel, as a group, we were ill informed and believe other residents affected by similar schemes are in the same position.
Council now simplifies their definition of a 'special benefit': "The works benefit the scheme properties more than they benefit any other properties in the general surrounding area. This is a special benefit."
Really? We have been paying rates just like everyone else all these years.
We have not received a discount on our rates because Dundas St, by council's own admission, "is in poor condition" and "this scheme will ensure that the section of Dundas St will be to a similar standard as other fully constructed sections of Dundas St."
It will also fix their drainage problems!
We have to drive up Cunninghame St to reach our properties, just as we have to turn into Dundas St.
We do not own Dundas St. It is a public road that anyone can use.
We are merely forced to use this road to reach our destination which is our driveways, our homes, our lounge rooms and our couches nothing special as required by the Local Government Act.
I think the integrity of the special charge schemes may just be in jeopardy.
Let's ask the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal for an opinion.
I would gratefully accept help from any members of our community and can be contacted by phone on 0419 543 760 or email firstname.lastname@example.org