Will the Mayor and her councillors vote themselves a 2.5% payrise?

Following the record breaking 29 minutes that it took to roar through the last Council meeting the meeting tomorrow, Tuesday 26th June, will take some time it appears. on the agenda Starting off at tomorrow's Council meeting will be the MAYORAL REPORT on Wharf Road, Batemans Bay The area of Batemans Bay coastline known as Wharf Road, has generated significant interest in regard to the impacts of coastal hazards and how they should be managed. To date Council has pretty much cocked it up with a considerable backlash from the community in regards to how they have handled their communication and consultation. Recently the Mayor attended a meeting at Wharf Road with a representative of a consortium who are a major land owners in the area. This meeting was also attended by my fellow Councillors Maureen Nathan, Jack Tait and Pat McGinlay. At the meeting the property owner advocated for a new study of the area to be undertaken to examine all existing information and potential remediation options, along with the site’s suitability for development. It was suggested that this study should be funded by Council or the NSW Government. At the meeting the Mayor gave a commitment to raise the matter with councillors via a Mayoral report, to enable a position to be determined, hence my presenting this report to Council. Given that the primary beneficiaries arising from the outcomes of such a study are the property owners, the Mayor believes that the property owners requesting the study should, as a minimum, provide 50% of the cost of the study and that Council should limit its contribution to a maximum amount of $10,000. In her Mayoral Report Liz Innes will be recommending that Council consider the request to fund or contribute to the funding of a study of the Wharf Road area and determine a position in regard to such request. Next to come will be a string of Notices of Motion and Questions on Notice from Councillors Anthony Mayne, in his Questions on Notice asks "Rural Fire Service (RFS) concerns raised in their letter to Eurobodalla Shire Council of 4 December 2015. ‘Reduction of Minimum Lot Size, the RFS states: The Draft Rural Lands Strategy (DRLS) seeks an increase in subdivision potential of some areas which the RFS are of the opinion are highly constrained and may be identified as isolated rural locations. Constraints such as steep slopes, heavily timbered land, limited access (i.e one way in one way out) and areas of high conservation value should not be subject to increased densities without first undertaking a thorough investigation of the likely impacts including matters of bush fire protection’. Q1. What investigations have been done into these areas and is it possible to protect possible new residents and fire fighters from these identified hazards? Q2. Will subdivision or development be allowed on steep slopes, heavily timbered land, limited access or high conservation value land? Q3. Has the viability of the proposed Minimum Lot Sizes been assessed for the interface to the bush fire hazard? Q4. Will lot sizes be amended where adequate protection is unlikely to be viable? Q5. What has Council done to satisfy the concerns of the RFS? Q6. What additional road construction would be required to allow safe access to these areas? Q7. Can Council proceed with the Rural Lands Strategy before satisfying the objections of the RFS? Q8. What is the forecast total land clearing as a result of the proposed 255 new dwellings and related road infrastructure, bush fire protection requirements and fencing? For all those interested in the very detailed answers provide you can find them in the Agenda papers HERE The next Question on Notice is from Councillor Phil Constable asking: What steps have been undertaken to enact motion NOM17/002 Princes Highway Corridor Strategy as resolved by Council on 14 February 2017; what impediments have occurred to the facilitation of the intent of the motion and what suggestions do staff offer to overcome these impediments and enact the intention of the motion. The response can be found HERE. Reading between the lines the response summarises all the things since they had a fire lit under their backsides for having done nothing for 16 months before Councilllor Anthony Mayne reminded staff of the direction that councillors had clearly given to organise a specific meeting with specific people to talk about the Princes Highway corridor. Having failed to do so the council had also failed in its role to best represent the issue of the Princes Highway long before the Fix It Now campaigns and the initiative shown by Bega Council to step-up and clearly press the case to see the Princes Highway While Council effuse in their response of all the things they have subsequently done there is neither apology or excuse in failing to call together the specific meeting request and by simply saying that Hon Andrew Constance MP and Hon Melinda Pavey MP met with Council staff and some councillors doesn't cut it. No doubt, under the staff recommendation THAT the response to the question regarding Princes Highway Corridor Strategy Update raised by Councillor Constable be received and noted it will also be noted that those who observe council and particularly this issue will be less than placated. The next Question on Notice, from Councillor McGinlay, is of considerable interest One of the conditions for granting these loans by TCorp is that Council was required to amend its current "Investment Policy" in accordance with its credit policies.This effectively decreased the percentage of term deposit funds that could be invested by Council in institutions with a BBB rating.

This recommended change to comply with TCorp demands was also accepted by Council to be put out for public exhibition until 20 June 2018.In relation to the loans I ask the following: 1. Within the schedule of the loans documentation what is the 'adoption day' of the loans? 2. After the 22 May Council meeting, Councillors were verbally advised that TCorp had included a clause that affirms the requirement to maintain Council's investment policy as is throughout the term of the loans. I consider this to mean that once the loans are formalised, Council may not change its "Investment Policy" for the terms of the loans without the express written approval of TCorp. Can you confirm that this is correct? 3. Are there any mechanisms open to Council in the future to cancel these loans and thus regain autonomy in determining and amending its own "investment policy" within the term of the loan? Can you also confirm the term of the loans? 4. If there are mechanisms to get out of these loans in future what are likely to be the kind of financial costs to Council? 5. In its report to Council (CCS 18/018) T-Corp...provides discounted borrowing rates and it is financially responsible to pursue these loans". What is the 'differential' in the costs to Council to accepting these loans rather than going to the best the normal financial market has to offer? Why was Councillor McGinlay’s call for Urgent Business overturned by the Mayor when council staff knew that, for processing purposes TCORP requested that the documents be lodged COB 22 June 2018. What Councillor McGinlay was very urgently pointing out that even a 1st year economics student would understand was that when they voted on pursuing the loans they didn’t have all the facts and the facts are that for the period of the loans Eurobodalla Council can’t even scratch its bum let alone have any control over who it invests with without the explicit signoff of TCORP.“Council can change its policy without consent however should TCorp not agree to a change, this could allow TCorp to immediately recall the loans. Should TCorp agree with the change it is not envisaged that the loans will be impacted.”And that could be up to 30 years.So the bottom line is all future council’s are now bound by the signatures of the existing mob for the next thirty years and if they decide to invest in something like Green investments and take their money from fossil fuel investments which isn’t the preferred investment tack of TCORP then future councils can “immediately repay the capital outstanding, any interest due and payable, and consequently any refinancing costs which may include higher interest rates and accept that it will also likely future loans with TCorp would not available.” Though nothing can be done now it is terrific that Councillor McGinlay has now had this revealed into the public record for future councillors to refer to and for residents and ratepayers to see that his Urgent Business alarming the councillors to this before they signed was ignored and that the Mayor disregarded its urgency. Next on the agenda will be where the Mayor and Councillors all vote to give themselves a well deserved pay rise. The Local Government Remuneration Tribunal has set the mayoral and councillor fees for the 2018-19 financial year, with effect from 1 July 2018, and has determined that an increase of 2.5% should apply. The recommendation is that Council makes a determination in regard to the Remuneration Tribunal’s determination of a 2.5% increase in fees for Councillors and the additional Mayoral allowance and that they note that the maximum fees for Regional Rural councils for 2018-19, including the full Tribunal determination, are set at $19,790 for Councillors and $43,170 for the additional Mayoral allowance. Back in 2014 Eurobodalla Councillors turned down the 2.5 per cent pay increase recommended by the Local Government Remuneration Tribunal Councillor Milton Leslight moved a motion that "due to the current financial circumstances", council not accept the increase citing that the community was “doing it too tough”. Then Councillor Danielle Brice said the money (about $4500) should be reallocated to another project, which is yet to be determined.Cr Leslight said “It’s not a lot, it’s just the gesture and for the integrity of it,” he said.Not everyone agreed. It was reported that ex-Mayor Lindsay Brown and Councillor Peter Schwarz voted against the motion Brown said it was not “pay” but remuneration and would force councillors to continue the work and have to find the funds elsewhere. “We’re encouraging people to stand for council, and there is a cost involved in being a councillor, and I think they should be reimbursed.” he told the Bay Post saying “he worked seven days a week, at all hours.” Note that Council will be increasing its annual Ordinary Rates for 2018-19 in accordance with the rate peg set by IPART of 2.3% and that MOST of those in the shire are NOT in receipt of the same luxury of the 2.5% salary increases enjoyed by Council staff, public servants or councillors and Mayors. Next item of business is a report to adopt Council’s revised Delivery Program 2017-21 and Operational Plan 2018-19, incorporating the Budget, Fees and Charges, Revenue Policy and the making of the general rate and water, sewer, waste, stormwater and liquid trade waste charges. - increase in Ordinary Rates for 2018-19 of 2.3% - Waste collection, management and availability charges will increase by 2.3% - The Environment Levy will increase 2.3% in accordance with the rate peg amount approved by IPART. - The water consumption charge will increase by 1.4% to maintain best practice pricing. - The water availability charge will increase by 3.6% - The sewer availability charge will increase by 2.2% - Liquid trade waste charges will increase by 3.03%. Only a few weeks ago we learnt that Council adjusts its water and sewer charges to ensure it makes an annual “dividend” that it then pays into the General Fund Of interest is that in the report to councillors it says Social Impact The Community Strategic Plan provides an overarching framework for all other Council plans and policies. The purpose of the Community Strategic Plan is to identify the community’s priorities and aspirations for the future and plan strategies to achieve them. There is however no mention of the social impact increasing all the fees has on those who are on fixed incomes nor does it recognise that the median age of the shire is the oldest in the State and the economic dependence on social security in both pensions and unemployment is also one of the States highest. There is NO WHERE in the 2017-21 DELIVERY PROGRAM AND 2018-19 OPERATIONAL PLAN that identifies where council has made any attempt at all to pull in its belt and make savings.

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