The people say “no” to plan for $600 market trader levy

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The Terrier – Carol Altmann

Last week, The Terrier Facebook page did an unintended, free poll for the W’bool City Council on its plan to whack market stallholders with a new $600 a year fee to set up their trestle tables and tents.

The post exploded.

The Terrier is a one-person operation, so this sort of response to a single post is incredible.

It sends a very clear message and it is one we all hope the WCC hears with ears wide open: we have had enough of the constant asking for more of our hard-earned dollars without one shred of solid evidence or justification.

Despite promises, Mayor Tony Herbert is yet to provide any examples of a permanent city trader who pushed for this levy.

Mr Herbert has also not explained why, after operating successfully for years, the fresh markets are now considered a public health risk that this new fee would help “monitor”.

(Btw, stallholders have to meet food standards, pay insurance and, usually, pay a fee to the market organiser.)

The council has also not explained why local market stall holders should pay $600 a year, yet big outfits like Jurassic Creatures plonked themselves at Lake Pertobe for a month over summer without – I have learned – paying one dollar in permit fees.

It is unfair. It will kill the local market scene and it will not make one iota of difference to the CBD traders struggling to come back from a street upgrade that ran a cool $3 million over budget and still relies on paid parking.

So here you go WCC, the feedback is in and the people have spoken. Let’s see what happens next.

2 thoughts on “The people say “no” to plan for $600 market trader levy”

  1. The Warrnambool City Council has reached a point in its history where the culmination of ignoring the bleeding obvious (poor financial management in the form of excessive and inappropriate expenditure, mismanagement of public assets, under performing business units) and prevail economic head winds has/will result in this Council having to make some tough decisions. It’s apparent these decisions at present are focused on the revenue side of the equation. Proposed itinerant trader fees and an significant increase in pet registration fees as a start. Next will come a report recommending a significant increase in rates. Rather than than look within to generate the required savings this council, led by its administration, will next week be asked to raise rates above the rate cap of 2.5% in 19-20. This Council, or should I say administration, is hell bent on taxing this community out of existence. Needless to say before this next move is even considered one would have thought the council should give its new ceo a chance. And let’s not forget the overwhelming no vote returned by the council survey. So to you and your readers if you desire any type of future for this city and it’s residents you will lobby each Councillor to vote no. Similarly show up for the vote and take a stand. We only get one chance at this. Don’t miss it.

    There’s a but! The survey results suggest respondents would prefer paying an increase in fees or cut services. So when the costs of provision for animal services increases there is only one option. That’s right. Increase fees (or close the pound, which is unlikely). No longer in a rate capped environment can the council fund or subsidize services where it’s clearly user pays. Unfortunately that’s the reality of all levels of government at the moment and sadly we all have to pick up the bill. It’s also sad that as a community we lack the maturity to accept and understand government can’t pay for everything. This is the new normal. Services must reduce/cease or users pay more. It’s unfortunate some of your readers don’t accept this. Perhaps if the council could better demonstrate it’s doing all it can then maybe they will.

    Over to you.

    1. I think the frustration lies in the WCC seemingly spending so much money on unnecessary expenditure while asking ratepayers to keep paying more. To avoid breaking the rate cap, they need to save a mere $700,000 for the next three years which, in an $86 million a year budget, should be simple. This is exactly why the rate cap was introduced in the first place – to encourage cost savings within councils, rather than take the easy option of raising rates. Unfortunately the survey on the rate cap did not give internal savings as an option. I often wonder what the results would have been if this had been an option!

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