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Storm water problems need clarification

Knox ratepayers have in recent times been assisting one of our ratepayers with a water problem, who lives in Forest Road, Boronia. Some two years ago, a Knox Ratepayer came to us for assistance who found himself in a similar situation.

The Forest Road situation was such that water was coming onto his property from other properties with broken pipes. It  dragged on for some two years, with Council and the water company blaming each other and the Ratepayer being caught up in the middle as the innocent party. As you can imagine, he felt as if he was ‘going through the mill’.

This trying situation has now been solved, thanks to the goodwill of recently elected Knox CEO Tony Doyle. He instructed his people to fix the problem and they did so post haste.

Knox Ratepayers cannot allow this type of situation to remain as such and have now approached the Essential Services Commission (Water) to define what authority is responsible when this type of thing occurs. ESC have already been in touch with KRA and will examine the Act to define where the responsibility lies. No doubt this is not an isolated incident.

KRA makes comment that newly elected Dobson Ward Councillor Jake Keogh has gone in to assist his Ratepayer over this matter. Jake is doing what he was elected to do and that is to assist the Ratepayers who elected him.

KRA consider there are very good signs for the Ratepayer of Knox.

Frank Sullivan
Spokesperson Knox Ratepayers Association (KRA)

Why Are We Paying Higher Rates In Knox?

Knox Ratepayers Association is concerned about the huge rates been inflicted on ratepayers in Knox compared to other councils in Melbourne.
A recent survey of rates charged at other councils in Melbourne shows a big discrepancy regarding what rates they pay as compared to Knox.
Following are examples.
Beaumaris home valued $1,000,000 pays rates of $1,070.00
North Balwyn home valued $800,000 pays rates of $1,200.00
East Keilor home valued at $600,000 pays rates of $1,200.00
Airport West home valued at $550,000 pays rates of  $1,300.00
Mitcham home valued at $470,000 pays rates of $970.00
Wantirna home valued at $540,000 pays rates of $1,700.00
KRA knows that house prices have risen in most areas in recent years, but the Rate/$ of CIV has risen from .002196 in 2011 to .002528 in 2015.
This Rate/$ is each year signed off by Councillors, who it would seem have little sympathy for struggling families and pensioners. You elect Councillors to represent you at Council, but do you think that the Councillors that you have elected, gives you a fair reward for the rates you pay. You the ratepayer have to be more diligent at Council elections and question that candidate that you vote for, of your concerns.
With councils elections due in October 2016, KRA intend to run information sessions for those people who have not stood for council elections in the past, to inform them on what they can expect if they are successful in winning a ward seat. Those prospective candidates who attended these courses would be given a tick of approval by KRA.

Why most Victorians believe councils should lift their game

By John Masanauskas, City Editor for The Herald Sun 16 July, 2014 at 2:15pm 

Topping the list of concerns was maintenance of unsealed roads, planning permit bureaucracy and management of population growth.
Residents were most satisfied with the state of arts centres and libraries, waste management and appearance of public areas.
About 28,000 people were interviewed earlier this year for the Local Government Community Satisfaction Survey Report released today. Read more online: Why most Victorians believe councils should lift their game.

Knox Ratepayers Hopes Dashed For Rates To Be Capped
Knox Ratepayers Association have in recent times made submissions to the Local Government Department to have rates capped at CPI in all the 79 councils in Victoria.
Unfortunately a Press Release in the Herald-Sun on 18th April 2014 has dashed hopes of this happening. New Local Government Minister Tim Bull, whilst refusing to cap rates, has urged councils to live within their means and exercise restraint on rate increases. In Knox since the year 2000, your rates have increased by 95% whilst inflation has risen by 42%. If this trend continues all Ratepayers will end up broke. It would seem that at Councils, the CEO and Officers set the rates and those rates are then rubberstamped by Councillors. Perhaps it is time that you the Ratepayer, who elect Councillors, strongly question those candidates at Council election time, on where they stand on rate increases. It is so easy to promise the world at election time and when elected ignore their election promises. Perhaps Ratepayers should get candidates to sign a document as to where they stand on rate increases. Over recent years KRA have put in submissions to Council over budgets and have been completely ignored, at times not even receiving a reply regarding their submissions.
This trend of rate increases cannot continue.
KRA committee.
HERALD SUN REPORT:
Rates hikes ignite anger
COUNCILS are under pressure to rein in rate rises with some planning hikes of up to 6 per cent over the next year. But the Napthine Government and Labor Opposition have ruled out capping rate increases. This is despite a recent Herald Sun revelation…JOHN MASANAUSKAS CITY EDITOR john.masanauskas@news.com.au
Herald Sun  |  18 Apr 2014  |   |   | Released: 8d. 16h. ago  | Page: 12

CEO Council Response to KRA letter:

EPSON scanner image

PDF version: kra1002

Lights Camera Action, free webcasting of council meetings  13/02/2014.

In reply to the report of “Council Knocks back town hall meetings” on page 13 of the Knox Leader Tuesday the 11th of February 2014.
Chief Executive Graeme Emonson’s statement that the council not live web-casting of council meetings was due to not being within council budgets.
The residence of Knox have the right to know what is happening at council but may not have the time to attend the meeting.
A number of other councils such as City of Greater Dandenong have embraced the live streaming of council meetings and provide access to videos of previous meetings available to watch at any time on the council’s website.
Web-casting is not new to Knox City Council as they have it in the city plan
Knox Ratepayers Association have been investigating how we can give ratepayers the opportunity to view council meetings from anywhere without costing the ratepayers for such access.  We have obtained quotations for live streaming of council meetings.
The quotations we have received would provide a full service of live webcast during the meeting and when the meeting was completed provide to council a video of the meeting which council staff could upload to the council’s website for visitors to view previous meetings.
Knox Ratepayers Association propose that we are in a position to fund the costs of the live webcast based on the quotations we have received on an ongoing basis.
If council are not  in a position due to IT difficulties to live webcast from the council website or uploaded videos of previous meetings, Knox Ratepayers Association would be happy to host the live stream on the Knox Ratepayers website and manage a YouTube channel on the council’s behalf of videos. Free of charge to council or the user.
If council has any concerns of how the webcast would work, we would be happy to trial a six month pilot to see how council and residence feel about the service.

Hoon Drivers Race Down Marie Street

Recently KRA had a request from one of our members recently for assistance regarding a traffic problem at the Cnr of Marie Street and Daffodil Road, Boronia. Marie Street comes down a hill towards the T-Intersection of Daffodil Road. Hoon drivers speed down the hill and do wheelies on the corner and some hit the curve and some have driven into the fence of our member. A few years ago a truck came down Marie Street to quickly and crashed through the front fence of our member and she considers that only for a huge gum tree been planted in her front garden she would have been killed. Unfortunately some time later this driver died.

This person lives in fear of her life as she hears the continual screeching of tyres at this corner (This woman is a 73 year old widow ,who lives on her own)  She is under medical help through this situation.

KRA requested to council that they install a safety barrier outside the property to protect it. On Wednesday 5th Feb. two council officers attended our member’s home and fortunately the woman asked me to attend the meeting to support her. When the request was again put to council to install a safety barrier, their comment was “If we put a safety barrier in the hoon driver might get hurt” an amazing comment. It would seem that council have more concerned about the person who is breaking the law, than the law abiding ratepayer who is living in fear of her life. The comments from these council officers have been relayed to our member in writing by Engineering Director Ian Bell.

It is high time that our councillors who appoint the Chief Executive Officer of Knox council and he in turn appoints all other staff at Knox Council, question his judgment on the appointment of people who make decisions like this.

Knox Leader Newspaper

Ratepayer’s rage against property valuations after Boronia man successfully fights council over rates rise. This report March 11, by Therese Allaoui.

Review of Suburban Residential Height Limits – 01/07/2013
Article in The Age 01/07/2013 “Quiet streets to be a no-go zone for towers”. http://www.theage.com.au/business/property/quiet-streets-to-be-a-nogo-zone-for-towers-20130701-2p6gg.html

 Knox City Council on ‘A Current Affair” – 16/05/2013

Fed up with his local council ignoring him, Dave Westbrook took a unique approach to getting an answer. His house has flooded 55 times, so he’s set up camp at the council until they fix it. http://aca.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=8659953

The Mayne Report view on the MAV elections – 20/04/2013
The following is a link to the blog of Stephen Milne.
Knox City Council has an elected representative on the Municipal Association of Victoria board in Cr Peter Lockwood
http://www.maynereport.com/articles/2013/03/01-1856-2375.html

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