I note Councillor Van Styn’s comments in relation to the proposed reduction in the number of Councillors.
As the current Mayor of the City I have no problem with reducing our numbers and the consequential cost savings. This was discussed at a recent Concept Forum at which Councillor Van Styn was not in attendance.
When the City amalgamated with the Shire of Mullewa in 2011 we signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreement that we would not reduce the number of Councillor representatives (2) for the Mullewa Ward for a period of eight years. Whilst an MOU is not a legal document, my position is, as a signatory to the agreement, I would not consider breaking this agreement.
Unfortunately there is more to this issue than stated in Councillor Van Styn’s letter.
- Whilst Council did have a lager than usual increase in 2011 it should be remembered that in 2007 (also a re-valuation year) that Council chose to not implement the full increase in that year because of the drought conditions which existed at that time. This caused a downward compound over the next four years.
- With the introduction by the State of the Integrated Planning Framework back in 2011 it became necessary for all Councils to correctly address and fund asset renewal. Few have done so and might be a good example for the State to adopt the same regime! Whilst prior to this date it was not compulsory, our Council was aware it was coming and had begun to address the issue. This had my full support as it is routinely done in private enterprise, an area where I have much experience.
- I believe this showed good forward thinking by our Council not the reverse as suggested by Councillor Van Styn.
- I have also fought hard to ensure rates are as low as possible given our financial constraints and will continue to do so by making sure we examine our costs and staffing levels regularly.
- We need to be a financially sustainable city and one that does not leave debt for our children. My intention is to encourage our Council to achieve this.
City of Greater Geraldton