Cash splash rescue?
By Ben Bell
How would you like $100 cash courtesy of your council?
I am being serious.
How would you like $100 for free, courtesy of your council, for you to spend however you wish?
This is not a competition and there are no applications or forms for you to fill out.Read more
The money would be paid automatically to each and every household across the Shire of Toodyay in a couple of months’ time when the council approves its annual budget.
Does this sound good to you?
Then please read on and I will walk you through my thinking.
As you are no doubt aware, our community is living at the moment through some very turbulent times.
Jobs are being lost and businesses forced to shut their doors (by government order) without any clear indication as to when they may resume trading again.
It is understandable, given this, if some Toodyay families are feeling concerned about their household budgets and what may lie ahead in coming months.
This got me thinking.
What can your council do to help you during this difficult period?
A zero-percent rate increase this year is a given, especially since the State Government is applying enormous pressure on councils not to raise this year’s rates or fees.
At the end of the day though, does this really reduce the financial pressures you may be experiencing?
No, not really.
What it does to is ensure that the shire isn’t adding to the problem.
But I don’t think freezing rates this year would do anything to actually reduce any financial pressure you may be feeling, will it?
So in addition to freezing rates, what if your council actually gave you money this year?
I am talking cold hard cash – in your pocket – for you to spend however you wish across Toodyay.
Surely this would help alleviate some of your short-term money concerns, even if just in the most modest of ways.
I am talking $100 paid to every household in Toodyay.
It could be more than this if your council in its wisdom decides that a higher payment is warranted.
But let’s use this as a starting point.
Why $100 I hear you say?
Because with just over 2000 properties in Toodyay, this is the amount of cash your council could easily give to each household without placing any financial burden on the shire’s own accounts.
Likewise, it would not place any upward pressure on rates for this or future years.
There are numerous ways this initiative could be fully funded out of the shire’s existing budget without it having any adverse effect on the type and quality of services that it provides to our community.
For instance, this cash payment to you could be paid for by councillors reducing their sitting fees for a single year to the minimum amount allowable under the law, coupled with decreasing the new incoming shire CEO’s salary package to 80 per cent of the maximum amount allowable under the law (down from the 100 per cent the outgoing CEO is currently paid) and by directing funds already allocated to numerous cancelled community events and sponsorships due to the current health emergency towards this new financial stimulus package for Toodyay.
Naturally, if the council wishes to fund this initiative through other means such as cost savings in other areas, then I am more than open to entertain their ideas, just as long as it doesn’t impact negatively on our community and the services it needs.
Suffice to say, an initiative of giving cash per household across Toodyay is one proactive thing that your council can do for its ratepayers without any fear of it having an adverse impact on the shire’s accounts.
Of course, handing cash to every household in Toodyay has a much larger benefit for the broader community too.
If this money is spent with local businesses, the accepted multiplier effect means giving $100 to each household could inject more than $500,000 directly into our local economy at a time when businesses need it the most.
Just think about that for a second – $500,000 of extra cash flowing into local businesses across Toodyay.
Now surely that would give the Toodyay economy a boost and maybe, just maybe, create a few more local jobs in the process.
The key is to ensure that this proposed council-issued cash is spent solely within Toodyay.
Fortunately, this appears relatively easy to achieve – you just issue the money in the form of Toodyay Dollars.
The Toodyay Dollars scheme was established by the local Chamber of Commerce and Industry to encourage local people to buy locally.
I understand that there is no cost for a Toodyay business to join the Toodyay Dollars program.
Similarly, there is no cost or fees for anyone using such dollars, so in the eyes of local businesses it is ostensibly the same as good ol’ Aussie dollars.
So there you have it – my plan to put money in your pocket while at the same time doing something to help our local businesses and hopefully create a few new jobs as well.
This idea is sustainable (and fully costed) and doesn’t place any stress on the shire’s budget or rates, either now or into the future.
Which brings me back to my original question – how would you like $100 courtesy of your council?