Candidate Information Request Register

Date Candidate Request Response date Responsible department Response
24 Sep 2020 Dora Bergman

What is the total number of rateable properties in the Chelsworth ward?

24 Sep 2020 Revenue

There are 6,118 total rateable properties in the Chelsworth ward

For all other wards the total rateable properties in each ward are:

Bakewell: 6,679

Beale: 5,171

Grimshaw: 5,936

Griffin: 6,450

Hawdon: 5,793

Ibbott: 6,485

Olympia: 7,087

Sherbourne: 5,936

24 Sep 2020  Jeremy Crocker 

In the interests of fairness to all candidates, and as a great way to engage the community in the election process, would the council allow for access to a common, designated local area for the purposes of displaying campaign material (such as corflutes/posters/banners or similar)? For example, somewhere like the fencing/hoarding of the new library site would seem symbolically and functionally ideal.

28 Sep 2020  Governance 

Please note that Council is not in a position to provide Council land to allow for the placement of election signs.

Council’s Election Period Policy (incorporated in our Governance Rules see link Governance Rules - Election Period Policy(PDF, 982KB)) outlines that Councillors and staff cannot use council resources to publish election material as per below:

Electoral material is any matter that is "intended or likely to affect voting in an election" (excluding material produced by the returning officer for the purpose of conducting the election).

  • Publicises the strengths or weaknesses of a candidate
  • Advocates the policies of the Council or of a candidate
  • Responds to claims made by a candidate
  • Publicises the achievements of the elected Council
  • Publicises matters that have already been the subject of public debate
  • About matters that are known to be contentious in the community and likely to be the subject of election debate
  • Referring to Councillors or candidates by name or by implicit reference.

You may wish to approach private property owners and seek their permission to use their property to place a sign. There may be Planning permit requirements, will find out what these are and send them to you.

Further information on signs not requiring a permit when placed on private property provided 29 Sep 2020.

25 Sep 2020  Dora Bergman 

[In relation to previous request for information of rateable properties in Chelsworth ward]

please confirm the breakdown in residential and non residential.

28 Sep 2020  Revenue 

Breakdown for Chelsworth ward provided to candidate via email. 

For all other wards refer to the table.

25 Sep 2020  Dora Bergman 

Clarification of the specific new ward boundaries.

28 Sep 2020  Governance 

Detailed individual ward boundaries can be found on the VEC's interactive map here and by selecting Banyule in the Council dropdown menu then selecting each ward.

25 Sep 2020  Jenny Mulholland 

Is the use of Cr or Councillor title during the caretaker period on materials and social media allowed?

28 Sep 2020 Governance 

Councillors may use their title "Councillor" or "Cr" in their election material, as they continue to hold office during the election period.

In the 2016 General elections this was confirmed with the Local Government Inspectorate as being the case; there is no misuse of position in using the title. 

29 Sep 2020  Bev Moss  Copies of the last 2 years of Financial Statement  30 Sep 2020  Governance 

Copies of Financial Statements are published in the Annual Report each year and the previous 3 years can be found on Council's website here.

29 Sep 2020  Bev Moss  The total cost of the Mayoral/Community Ball since 2006  30 Sep 2020  Governance 

Please note since the inception of the Mayoral Ball the event was not initially held annually. We have no data on the years 2008 to 2010.

2020 – Not held

2019 - $53,554 – This event was held at Latrobe Uni as The Centre Ivanhoe was under construction

2018 - $44,312

2017 - $42,868

2016 - $38,949

2015 - $34,536

2014 - $39,113

2013 - $36,435

2012 – 'Back to the Berg' not Mayoral Ball. Guests paid for tickets.

2011 - $20K

2010 – No data can be accessed or the event did not occur

2009 - No data can be accessed or the event did not occur

2008 - No data can be accessed or the event did not occur

2007 – $29K – 70th year celebration

29 Sep 2020  Bev Moss  The cost of assessing the viability of the raising of the flag to mark the passing of important people?  30 Sep 2020  Governance 

Council adopted the Flying Flags Policy (report and policy is attached) on 15 September 2014

There were no costs involved in the preparation of the report, other than an indication it would require internal staff time for any half-masting

To date Council has not half masted the flag for any former Councillor or member of the Executive

There is no assessment of the cost of the viability as the costs are minimal, please see a response from the Manager Governance to you on 2 October 2014 outlining the changes, please see below:

"...In relation to the half-masting of the flag, the report that went to Council at its last meeting on this matter was formalising the existing practice. Council will be continuing as per current practice to half-mast the flag as directed by the Protocols Office, with the CEO being able to use his discretion to direct half-masting the flag in the instance of a current-serving Councillor or current Executive staff member passing away, hopefully a highly unlikely scenario. If the CEO feels it is appropriate, he can also direct half-masting the flag for a prominent member of the community (eg. a member of the community who passes away who has an Order of Australia or the like), that is if it is drawn to Council's attention that someone of this stature has passed away. However, the intention is that for deaths such as this, the current practice of an item of General Business or a Minute Silence at a Council Meeting is still considered an appropriate acknowledgement, rather than a half-masting.

Therefore, nothing has really changed other than noting in the policy that the CEO has the discretion to direct halfmasting of the flag in other circumstances he feels are appropriate other than the Protocols Office directives.

Since the report to Council, there has been discussion about Council organising a Banyule flag, that is a flag with the Banyule logo on it, which instead can be used on those occasion when the flag would be lowered for occasions other than when directed by the Protocols Office as described above. This flag would not be flown from the main flag pole above the Civic Centre but rather from one of the smaller flag poles out the front of the Civic Centre. This is a practice adopted by other Councils and we will now be organising for such a flag for Banyule.

As for the cost associated with half-masting, this is undertaken by trained Council staff from our Operations area who perform the duty during normal working hours so there is no additional cost charged. There are only a couple of occasions when the flag has to be lowered or raised outside of normal hours and overtime rates are charged, this usually applies for Anzac Day and Remembrance Day..."

Report and policy referenced in this response as 'attached' are both available when downloading this register(PDF, 423KB).

1 Oct 2020 

Jeremy Crocker

Rate capping and discretionary application of rate rises by council

1.1 Since the introduction of rate capping (effective) 1st July 2016, has Banyule Council always chosen to apply the maximum allowable rate rise for Banyule residents?

5 Oct 2020  Finance 

Yes – Council's financial sustainability is considered when applying the Rate Cap.

Council’s Rating Strategy, which includes the proposed rate cap, is provided for public consultation each year prior to adoption of Budget.

1 Oct 2020  Jeremy Crocker 

1.2 Kindly also present, by way of schedule, the maximum allowable rate caps by year and the corresponding rate rises levied on residents by Banyule Council.

5 Oct 2020  Finance  Refer to the rate cap details table
1 Oct 2020  Jeremy Crocker 

1.3 For remaining financial periods of the upcoming four year council term (2021/2022, 2022/23 and 2023/24), what annual rates rises (or effective proxy such as CPI, if applicable) are Council currently utilising for budgets or projections?

5 Oct 2020  Finance 

Rate rise projections utilise the Consumer Price Index (CPI) forecasts

  • 2020/21: 2.00%
  • 2021/22: 2.25%
  • 2022/23: 2.25%
  • 2023/24: 2.50%

This is reviewed every year when updating Long Term Financial Plan and Budget.

1 Oct 2020  Jeremy Crocker 

Debt management 

2.1 Council's published 2020/21 budget states (page 12) "For 2020/2021 Council will repay $1.67 million of borrowings".

Given the current broader economic conditions (or any other factor), can Council confirm that this target figure remains valid and if not, kindly provide a revised figure for the period?

5 Oct 2020  Finance 

Yes, Council confirms the repayment will be made as budgeted.

This is based on the schedule of principle and interest repayments throughout the term of the loans.

1 Oct 2020  Jeremy Crocker 

2.2 Council's published 2020/21 budget states (page 12) "At 30 June 2021 Council projects to have an outstanding loan balance of $31.07 million and repay $9.09 million off this balance in October 2021".

Given the current broader economic conditions (or any other factor), can Council confirm that this target repayment figure ($9.09 million) remains valid and if not, kindly provide a revised figure for the period?

5 Oct 2020 Finance

Yes, Council confirms the repayment will be made as budgeted.

Council has an option to payout the balance of a loan in October 2021.

1 Oct 2020  Jeremy Crocker   

2.2.1 For the remaining financial periods of the upcoming term (2022/23 and 2023/24) does Council have target figures for debt repayment? If so, please provide.

5 Oct 2020  Finance

Yes

The loan agreement(s) are based on a schedule of principle and interest repayments throughout the term of the loan(s).

The scheduled principle repayments (including the $9.09 million addition repayment proposed in 2021/22) is outlined as follows:

  • 2020/21: $1.67 million
  • 2021/22: $10.26 million
  • 2022/23: $0.94 million
  • 2023/24: $1.01 million
9 Oct 2020  Dora Bergman  Could you please provide me with individual councillor payments/claim for reimbursement during the past 10 years  9 Oct 2020 Governance 

In accordance with the Local Government Act & Council's Councillor Expense & Resource Policy, Councillors are entitled to be reimbursed in relation to expenses incurred in their capacity as Councillors.

As required by the Local Government (Planning & Reporting) Regulations 2014 requires that details of expenses, including reimbursements and costs of materials provided to Councillors to perform their role, are reported each year in Council's Annual Report. These regulations were amended in 2015 to add this provision which took affect for the 2015/2016 financial year.

The past 3 year's Annual Reports (2018/2019, 2017/2018 & 2016/2017) can be found on Council's website.

Details of 2015/2016 found below.

Council is not in a position to provide you with the remainder of the information relating to the years 2010-2015 during the election period. Obtaining this information would involve extensive research and investigation and would unreasonably divert resources.

9 Oct 2020  Dora Bergman 
  1. How many disabled car parks are there Banyule and the locations of all disable carparks?
  2. Why do people with a disable parking permit not receive the initial time free on a parking metre when a disable car park is not available in this city unlike most councils in this State?

 

 
14 Oct 2020  Transport 
  1. We have records of 192 disabled carparking spaces either in the road or Council carpark within Banyule.
    There is not a publicly available list of locations of all disabled carparks within the Council.
  2. The conditions for disability parking permits are set by VicRoads. Most councils in Victoria follow the VicRoads guidelines, which doesn't exempt the payment for tickets or meters, but a number have created their own individual interpretations of the scheme and administration processes. This leads to confusion within the community as well as the potential for inequitable outcomes for applicants, and opportunity for the misuse of permits.
    Given this the state government is changing the current scheme to the Accessibility Parking Permit Scheme which will be based on the Australian Disability Permit Scheme. This new statewide scheme will centralise and digitise the system, making the application and renewal process easier to use, simpler to understand and fairer and equal for all. We haven't seen the guidelines that will operate in Victoria, but other states do exempt the payment of fees for permit holders. For more information on these changes visit VicRoads: Disability parking permit scheme.
7 Oct 2020  Elizabeth Nealy

In relation to Dalvida Reserve:

Since the rockery was put in two months ago, the water level has dropped significantly.

Why has this happened?

14 Oct 2020  Engineering Services 

With regard to low water levels in the dam at Dalvida Reserve St Helena, I advise that the dam is currently being held at an artificially low level until COVID restrictions and weather conditions allow a 2019/20 capital works project to be completed.

In Phase 1 of this project, works were undertaken at the inlet of the dam to repair a partially collapsed pipe, preventing further damage to the inlet, and sediment entering the dam or possible blockages of the pipe. 

Phase 2 will commence as soon as COVID restrictions and ground saturation levels allow access to the site. Works will comprise repairs to the outlet of the dam, vegetation planting / bank stabilisation, and the installation of a recirculation system to address algal outbreaks in summer. Water levels will be restored with the completion of these outlet works. 
7 Oct 2020 

Shirley Deviesseux

Over the past 3 financial years, what has been the cost of production of the hard copy Neighbourhood Watch Newsletter?

16 Oct 2020 Governance & Communications

By way of context and background, Council had for many years a practice of allowing various community groups the use of Council photocopiers for printing of their newsletters.

Groups would attend the Ivanhoe Town Hall along with the supply of their own paper and Council officers would assist them to set up their print job which the groups would supervise and manage.

As photocopier technology improved so did the machines sensitivity to the types of paper used. Newer photocopiers also made it more difficult for the volunteers to operate and clear jams which needed Council officer assistance.

To streamline the process for officers, the groups would email their newsletter and officers would try to fit the photocopying in around their other duties. Council supplied the paper which was more suitable to the newer machines to reduce risk of jams.

Over the last 3 years, the volume of newsletters has increased dramatically, along with the groups' requirements for how they are to be copied and prepared to enable easy distribution by volunteers.

Prior to the effective closure of Council offices in March 2020 due to COVID-19, there were 12,470 newsletters per month being printed for Neighbourhood Watch. The cost of each newsletter production can vary depending on number of paper jams, errors, or requests for reprints. The average cost for the Neighbourhood Watch newsletters (inclusive of paper, copier costs print charges, and labour) was $1674 per month. These costs have never been part of an approved Council budget, but rather have been absorbed administratively.

7 Oct 2020  Shirley Deviesseux 

In relation to production of Neighbourhood Watch Newsletter

What justification was used in cancelling support for this essential information resource?

16 Oct 2020  Governance & Communications

Impact of COVID-19:

The impacts of COVID-19 have led to a significant reduction in staff presence at 1 Flintoff Street Greensborough and therefore no capacity to print and collate now or for the foreseeable future.

Resource implications:

The expansion of the newsletter into different areas has led to an increase in newsletter volume and the inability to continue to absorb the resourcing and costs associated with this printing.

Banyule's commitment to Carbon Neutrality:

In order to meet Council's carbon neutrality target, the organisation is in the process of establishing new actions to reduce our everyday environmental impact. This includes the use of paper and printing, with many of Council's publications and communications progressively moving to an online format. Earlier this year, there was a rationalisation of photocopiers, resulting in a reduced number of machines which print at a lower speed.

Council officers are currently working with representatives of Banyule Neighbourhood Watch to develop a transition plan to move to more sustainable options for the production of their newsletters.

7 Oct 2020  Shirley Deviesseux 

In relation to production of Neighbourhood Watch Newsletter

Was this voted on by Council or an administrative decision?

16 Oct 2020  Governance & Communications 

As indicated, printing of the newsletters evolved from a historical practice of allowing access to Council's photocopies to volunteer community groups. The practice, or arrangement, has only ever operated at the administration level and has never been the subject of a formal Council decision.

14 Oct 2020  Dora Bergman 

Additional questions in relation to previous request regarding disabled parking.

  1. Do you by any chance have a record of how many traders have held a permit to park in Council carparking such as Abbotsford Grove that I believe was given out some 20 years ago and how many of these are still being held?
  2. What happened to the 35 car parking spots that belong to the ratepayers of the city that supposed to have been marked in the Woolworths site?
15 Oct 2020  Transport 

Additional comments regarding disabled parking

Category one (blue) and category two (green) permit holders are entitled to park in an ordinary parking bay for twice as long as indicated on the parking sign (under Road Rule 206). In the case that a parking fee is required the payment required by disability parking permit holders will cover twice the length of time than it would for a non-permit holder. For example a disability parking permit holder parks in a 1P parking bay, upon payment of the 1 hour parking fee the permit holder may park for up to 2 hours.

Council staff are happy to advise any permits holders or carers the locations of disabled parking spaces. We are in the process of developing a publicly available GIS system, that would display relevant community information including the locations of disabled parking spaces.

  1. The scheme was administered by the Ivanhoe Traders Association and ceased operating in the mid 2000's. We don't have records available of the number of permits issued.
  2. Council owns 35 publicly available carparking spaces within the basement parking at 72-84 Upper Heidelberg Road, Ivanhoe.
18 Oct 2020  Michelle Giovas 

Follow up question to Jeremy Crocker's query re:

2.2 Council's published 2020/21 budget states (page 12) "At 30 June 2021 Council projects to have an outstanding loan balance of $31.07 million and repay $9.09 million off this balance in October 2021"

Can you please advise when this debt was incurred and to what purpose(s)?
21 Oct 2020  Finance 

Existing debt comprises of the following loans:

  1. WaterMarc – incurred 28 June 2010
    Borrowing in 2010 was to develop the Leisure Centre and the move of Council offices to Greensborough from Ivanhoe. 

  2. School Sites – incurred 31 October 2013
    Borrowings in 2013/14 were to support opportunities which arose from the State Government’s sale of three former school sites.
18 Oct 2020  Michelle Giovas  Can you please advise who the councillors were when these debts were approved?  21 Oct 2020  Finance 

These capital investment loans were entered into between 2009-2013.

The councillors elected to Council during this time were:

2008-2012

  • Wayne Phillips
  • Jenny Mulholland
  • Jessica Paul
  • Peter McKenna
  • Tom Melican
  • Stephen Briffa
  • Anthony Carbines

2012-2016

  • Wayne Phillips
  • Tom Melican
  • Jenny Mulholland
  • Steven Briffa
  • Craig Langdon
  • Rick Garotti
  • Mark Di Pasquale 
18 Oct 2020  Michelle Giovas  Can you please advise why these debts have not been paid out further given the budget surplus?  21 Oct 2020  Finance 

All current debt outstanding has been entered into for fixed terms.

The opportunity to pay additional funds exists on 29 October 2021, without incurring break-costs as one of the loans has an inbuilt review date of 8 years.

Council has taken the opportunity (without penalty) to pay out other loans from budget surpluses. 
18 Oct 2020  Michelle Giovas  Can you please advise if these debts were entered into at fixed term rates and for what duration?  21 Oct 2020  Finance 
  1. School Sites - 31 October 2013 to 31 October 2029 - 16 years
    Principal and interest repayments are based on an amortising profile over 16 years (with the rate fixed for 8 years).  At the expiry of the term being 8 years) a residual payment will be due which the Bank may consider renegotiation of at this time). 

  2. WaterMarc – 28 June 2010 to 28 June 2035 – 25 years
    Principal and interest repayments Fixed term and rate. 
18 Oct 2020 Michelle Giovas  Can you please advise if there are penalty clauses to exit the loan contract(s) early?  21 Oct 2020  Governance & Communications 

Not all information from the old Council website was carried across to the new site that launched in July 2019. New information is added to the site as part of Council’s efforts to continuously improve the site.

Once the new Council is formed they will have the option to continue with ward specific newsletters or not. If these newsletters continue to be part of Council's communication efforts they will be presented on Council's website going forward. 

 20 Oct 2020 Michelle Giovas 

At what point in time should Council officers stopped conferring with standing Councillors in matters relating to planning given the election? 

21 Oct 2020  Governance & Communications  Interaction with Councillors during the Election (Caretaker) Period (23 September – 24 October) has been guided by Council’s Election Period Policy.  While they remain Councillors until 6.00am on election day, they have in the main been treated the same as other Candidates.  In accordance with the Election Period Policy, there have been no Council meetings or briefings held during the Election Period. The Development Planning team are not referring planning applications to Councillors or briefing them on planning related matters or applications during the election period. 
20 Oct 2020 Michelle Giovas  Could Council please provide the minutes of the meeting where the 2 new ward names were suggested, debated and / or publicly consulted? (Given that VEC states it is council responsibility to name new wards)  21 Oct 2020  Governance & Communications 

The Victorian Electoral Commission(VEC) conducted an Electoral Representation Review of Banyule City Council in 2019. Part of the VEC’s remit in undertaking the Review was to recommend ward names.

Banyule Council was not given the responsibility for providing the new names as indicated in the question.  There have been councils recently that have had their ward structure changed from multimember to single wards and they were given the responsibility for naming the wards.  This is a different process and came about from legislative change with the introduction of the new Local Government Act 2020, it did not come about because of an Electoral Review as occurred with Banyule.

The Review consisted of 2 public consultation periods and Banyule Council made 2 submissions during this consultation (1 in each submission period). The agenda, attachments document and minutes can be found on Council's website.

Council's submissions were considered at Council meetings on 15 July 2019 and 16 September 2019.

The VEC released a Preliminary Report, suggesting three options for the future structure of Banyule including their suggested names for any new wards.

The VEC's final report includes a response to public feedback on the VEC’s suggested ward names and the VEC’s final decision.

Again, Council was not responsible for naming the new wards. 
 21 Oct 2020 Kevan Hill  Could Council officers please prepare a summary of information of Rate increases over the last ten (10) years (including 2020/2021) compared with the All Groups CPI - June on June, using 1.70 percent CPI for 2020/2021 (being an average consensus from a panel of economists published recently in daily newspapers).  22 Oct 2020  Finance 

Rate Increases Percentages:

From 2016-2017 rate increase is in-line with the rate cap.

[Refer to rate increase recentages table]

As noted by the candidate this information can be readily obtained by the candidate and has therefore not been provided.

 21 Oct 2020 Kevan Hill 

Could Council officers please prepare a ten (10) year summary of the $dollar and percent increases in the Municipal Charge up to 2017/2018 (the Municipal Charge was thereafter incorporated into general rates). 

22 Oct 2020  Finance 

Municipal Charge Increases $ and Percentage increases:

[Refer to Municipal Charge dollar and percentage increases table]

Counts of properties by rating category and ward

Ward Residential improved Residential vacant Residential total Commercial improved Commercial vacant Commercial total Industrial improved Industrial vacant Industrial total Total
Grimshaw  5651  29  5680  93  94  160  162  5936 
Bakewell  6130  19  6149  523  526  6679 
Beale  5102 30  5132  37  38  5171 
Olympia  6819 36  6855  215  219  15  15  7089 
Ibbott  5547  27  5574  203  207  699  704  6485 
Hawdon  5731  21  5752  39  40  5793 
Griffin  5962  43  6005  435  439  6448 
Chelsworth 5757  24  5781  330  334  6117 
Sherbourne  5613  43  5656  186  186  88  92  5934 
Total 52312  272  52584  2061  22  2083  974  11  985  55652 

Rate cap details by year

Type per period 2016/17  2017/18  2018/19  2019/20  2020/21 
Applicable rate cap 2.50%  2.00%  2.25%  2.50%  2.00% 
Applied rate cap  2.50%  2.00%  2.25%  2.50%  2.00% 

Councillor expences reimbursed, extract from 2015/2016 Annual Report

Councillors  Travel  Car mileage  Child care  Information/Communication  Conferences & training  Total 
Cr Craig Langon  $41 $0  $0  $767  $8,954  $9,762 
Cr Jenny Mulholland  $164  $0  $0  $1,898  $3,032  $5,094 
Cr Steven Briffa $0  $616  $0  $220  $495  $1,331 
Cr Rick Garotti $0  1,584  $0  $1,485  $1,758  $4,827 
Cr Tom Melican $869  $0  $0  $1,503  $5,116  $7,489 
Cr Mark Di Pasquale $244  $1,286  $0  $784  $2,274  $4,588 
Cr Wayne Phillips  $385  $0  $0  $1,004  $1,453  $2,842 

Rate increase percentages

From 2016-2017 rate increase is in-line with the rate cap.

Rate Year Percentage

2020-2021

2.00%

2019-2020

2.50%

2018-2019

2.25%

2017-2018

2.00%

2016-2017

2.50%

2015-2016

4.95%

2014-2015

7.95%

2013-2014

7.95%

2012-2013

4.99%

2011-2012

5.75%

Municipal Charge dollar and percentage increases 

Rate Year Amount Percentage

2017-2018

$ 135.90

2.00%

2016-2017

$ 133.25

2.50%

2015-2016

$ 130.00

2.41%

2014-2015

$126.94

0.00%

2013-2014

$126.94

121.65%

2012-2013

$57.27

31.87%

2011-2012

$43.43

21.38%

2010-2011

$35.78

60.59%

2009-2010

$22.28

2.06%

2008-2009

$21.83

2.83%