WHISTLEBLOWER Charlie Mitchell has put hundreds of leaflets in home letterboxes of Wodonga residents coaxing them to object to their council's high rates.
The former Wodonga Council manager has spent the past two days depositing his homemade flyer which calls on ratepayers to push for a five-year rates freeze or $300 general rates reduction.
Ratepayers are being requested to make their views heard as part of online feedback on the council's draft 2019-20 budget which is due to close at 5pm on Wednesday.
Mr Mitchell, who highlighted the council's waste fee overcharging which saw a probe and payback recommendations from the Victorian Ombudsman, said he had been driven to distribute the papers because he believed the city was failing residents by applying high rates.
Commenced letterbox drop. Campaigning for lower Wodonga rates. When you do the figures it's amazing how much Wodonga council is overcharging General rates. $420 more than Ballarat or Bendigo, $345 more than Wangaratta. Wodonga needs to lower General rates by at least $300 pic.twitter.com/HdpN9zd0VB— Charlie Mitchell (@WhistlingC) June 9, 2019
His flyer states Wodonga general rates are $420 more than Bendigo or Ballarat's, $345 up on Wangaratta's and $175 greater than Shepparton's.
"If the council did their job properly I wouldn't be doing this," Mr Mitchell, who is an Albury resident, said.
"I've got better things to do than running around trying to do their job.
"But the ratepayers are poorly informed and the emphasis the council is going to be more transparent doesn't seem to be occurring under the mayor.
"There's no economic reason for Wodonga to be the highest charging council.
"Wodonga has always touted their high economic growth for their high rates but when you look at two reports, in 2015 and 2016-17, the state government didn't identify them as a growth council.
"A growth council is above three per cent annual growth and Wodonga, last time I checked, was at 1.8 per cent."
Mr Mitchell argues that Wodonga's rates should be 15 per cent or $300 lower because the council area is small mitigating transport costs, it has young infrastructure resulting in low maintenance spending and is in a competitive market which reduces goods and services pricing.
"You look at the small footprint, it takes 25 minutes to travel across compared to two hours with other (North East) councils," he said.