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HomeLocal NewsCity of SwanCouncil shenanigans, and a quick easy way to save $400,000

Council shenanigans, and a quick easy way to save $400,000

The City of Swan council met on the 30th of May in order to debate the potential rate rise of 3.25%.

The councillors voted 9/6 in favour of the rise, but not before some unorthodox ‘tricks’ employed by the mayor, according to one of the councillors.

According to the newsletter put out by councillor Ian Johnson, his motion for a zero per cent rate rise was not debated. This is what he wrote:
My motion for a zero per cent rate rise was not debated. Instead, Cr Zannino’s motion for a 3.25 per cent rate rise was successful.

I had circulated my zero per cent rate rise motion to all Councillors by Tuesday May 23. At that stage, no other alternate motions had been sent in.

Unexpectedly, at the special meeting on May 30, I found Cr Zannino’s motion ahead of mine on the run sheet.

It was revealed in the meeting that his had been submitted on Saturday May 27 at 6pm.I queried why his motion was before mine when I had submitted mine first.

Basically, the CEO said my motion required computer modelling which had not been completed until Monday. I said, but mine was in there first. The mayor took the advice of the CEO.

Cr Zannino’s motion included a single cost saving measure, closing the Guildford Library to make savings of $400,000. This was the first time the possibility had been raised. None of the 164 submissions on the advertised rate rise had contained this suggestion. It was a complete shock to the Guildford community.

When word got out earlier in the day that the library was under threat, emails flooded into the City. Friends of Guildford Library – the library is the only one in the City with a Friends group and the only community led library in WA – attended the public gallery to speak up for the library and ask questions.

The motion included giving the library to the Swan Guildford Historical Society as a museum. The Society confirmed in an email that they actually had other plans for a museum.

When the motion was put, what followed appeared to be a tightly scripted performance. In rapid succession Cr Zannino moved the motion, Cr Congerton seconded it and Cr Predovnik moved an amendment.

The amendment was to delete mention of the library from the rate rise motion.

Later in the debate Cr Congerton said he seconded Cr Zannino’s motion in order that it could be heard at Council and the amendment be put in.

The move to close the library was defeated 13/2 and the majority (9/6) went on to support the 3.25 per cent rate rise.

This meant my motion for a zero per cent rate rise, supported by the vast majority of the 164 submissions, was not heard or debated.

I did not support the 3.25 per cent rate rise. Cr’s Catalano, Howlett, Bowman, Knight and Richardson were also against.

Those who supported increasing your rates by 3.25 per cent were: Lucas, Congerton, McCullough, Predovnik, Jones, Henderson, Parry, Singh and Zannino.

Councillor Johnson also said: ‘If all the Councillors who had promised a rate freeze, rates cap or zero rate rise during their election campaigns had stuck by their undertakings, my motion for a zero per cent rate rise may have succeeded.’

‘Apart from facing electors at the ballot box, there is no penalty for departing from election pledges,’ he said.

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