New Ararat councillor Frank Deutsch sworn in and targets rates strategy as top of agenda

New councillor Frank Deutsch and CEO Allan Bawden on Friday morning. Picture: Ararat Rural City Council
New councillor Frank Deutsch and CEO Allan Bawden on Friday morning. Picture: Ararat Rural City Council

The Ararat Rural City Council rate strategy is at the top of the agenda for new councillor Frank Deutsch after he was sworn in on Friday morning.

Councillor Deutsch takes over from Darren Ford and fills the final vacancy in council.

He wasted no time calling the state’s rate strategy into question .

“The biggest issue is the higher rates people pay in the country areas,” he said.

“The tax should be the same for everyone, I would like to see lower rates here, or the state government steps in to its responsibility and subsidises the smaller councils.”

Cr Deutsch returns to council after a 17-month stint ended in October 2016. He said he has learnt a lot from his first tenure.

“It is a lot harder than what I first thought, being in council,” he said.

“All the issues you are confronted with and all the different interest groups in the community, they want this and they want that for nothing but someone has to pay for it.

“The first thing everyone has to understand is: if someone doesn’t pay for something, someone else has to pay for it – I am always 100 per cent for user pays. That way, instead of having a herd of public servants to look after your interests which have to be paid by ratepayer or by taxpayer, rate change eliminates it.

“Whenever I open my mouth, I upset somebody – I can’t help it, but those people I upset are the ones that want something for nothing.

“What I want people to understand is they have to get off their butts and do something.”

The 73-year-old was contacted on Wednesday morning by the VEC to inform him of his success at the council countback.

Cr Deutsch said it was not a surprise.

“My first impression was ‘about bloody time’,” said Cr Deutsch.

“No it wasn’t really a shock. I sort of expected it.”

The seven councillors will meet on Tuesday night to elect a new mayor at a special council meeting.