Ramsay wants relief on local election costs

By | April 14, 2016

MEMBER for Western Victoria Simon Ramsay wants the state government to work more closely with local governments to meet the costs of running this year’s council elections.
The coming local government election will be held on October 22, and Mr Ramsay said some councils in the Geelong region had budgeted for election cost increases of as much as 53 per cent.
He said the state government could allow Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) staff to use council-owned venues to save months of rental costs.
“There are opportunities for councils to save money on their elections if only the government will make some reasonable allowances.
“For example, the Colac Otway Shire council has estimated a cost to ratepayers of more than $185,000 this year, a 33 per cent increase.
“Councillors have asked the government to review the election costs but they’ve also proposed costs that using a council-owned venue instead of save $32,000.
“The VEC has not yet confirmed it will agree to this but it is more than reasonable to make an exception if it can save our constituents’ hard-earned rates from going to waste.”
Mr Ramsay said all councils faced greater election costs, but regional municipalities had less opportunity to raise revenue under the 2.5 per cent rate cap.
“The Surf Coast Shire has budgeted a 53.7 per cent increase, the City of Greater Geelong expects 33 per cent more costs, and the Golden Plains Shire Council has been advised it will face a 47 per cent increase compared to the previous election.
“Geelong residents will see $200,000 less spent in their city this year due to these election costs.”
According to the Municipal Association of and nominations opening the next day.