Council drops the ball, again
THE South Burnett Regional Council needs to lift its game when it comes to talking to the public about changes in our community.
In recent months it has been too slow in responding to significant developments and this has caused unnecessary stress to wash through our community.
Nowhere is this more evident than with a recent decision to fold the road levy in general rates and, by extension, increase the bills for some rural landholders by thousands of dollars.
Too often the council relies on media releases as the main vehicle for talking with its constituents.
Worse still, it is totally misguided in thinking social media is an effective way to get information out into the public space.
It's common knowledge that Facebook truncates what users see on their feed. Think about how many 'Facebook friends' you have. How often do you see posts from all of them?
The council should have had letters prepared for every property owner in line for a big rate increase.
At the very least those letters should have been mailed the moment the council approved its budget.
Even better, it should have consulted with the worst affected ratepayers prior to making a decision.
Adding thousands of dollars to a rates bill without notice is a bad way of running an organisation.
If the news media had not run articles about the hike, farmers would not have known what was coming until rates notices arrived.
Like every business, farmers need to know incoming costs so they can prepare. If the council is going to slog them for more money, the least it can do is send a letter.
The first rule of public relations is to get in front of bad news but once again, the council thought keeping quiet would save it pain.