Who has ever bothered to read the annual reports published by the local councils? Have we ever brought our local councillors to task on costs? For instance, why does household waste removal cost 2x as much in Woollahra as it does in Penrith? Of course, income disparity is one factor but is there a luxury element to garbage disposal in the wealthy suburbs? Garbage collection is just garbage collection, no? Of course, the distances travelled by garbage trucks might be a factor. Yet Waverley costs $17,500/hectare for annual rubbish disposal whereas Hornsby (arguably national parks don’t make it apples for apples comparisons) is $511/ha. Lane Cove has a similar area to Waverley but costs only $4,709/ha. Someone is making some serious coin on the collections in some council areas based off annual escalations one would think.
Why does the City of Sydney council have a $924/resident cost per council staff versus $277 in Liverpool? Or on an area basis, why does it cost $83,000/ha in Sydney vs a similarly populated Parramatta at $12,300/ha?
30% of Clover Moore’s budget is allocated to council staff. Councils in Hornsby, The Hills and Camden are less than 20%. Cumberland and Liverpool councils have around 50% of the budget allocated to staff.
The City of Sydney rakes in $757mn pa or $3,154 per 240,000 odd residents. Mosman pulls in just under $50mn or $1,600 per 31,000 residents. Blacktown pulls in $640mn revenue per annum across 366,534 residents.
Did we realise the collective equity base of our Sydney metro councils exceeds $66bn? $21bn of that in Sydney. How well are those assets being managed? There are some lazy balance sheets and even lazier investment strategies for all the collective billions sitting in those accounts.
So next time you attend your council meeting, perhaps you can ask what the investment strategies are among the millions of your monies raised has been allocated?
We should be thinking of merging more councils. Plenty of inefficiencies to be squeezed out and plenty of opportunities to lower rates to the residents. Get off the high horse on declaring climate emergencies and look at streamlining services that really benefit those they serve.