Welcome to this week’s editorial, This week’s editorial is lacking in any clear direction as we are as equally flummoxed as to what direction our esteemed leaders are taking us. Many feel as though the councillors actually have no idea and are simply leaving the steering of the Good Ship Lollypop up to the General Manager and those on her poop deck. We are however slowly uncovering some gems such as learning that Council annually bumps up the water and sewer rates to feed the general fund to pay for the 2.5% CPI increases that the staff are automatically awarded and with a labour cost of $33m per year that is growing at a rate that the average punter just can’t afford. It reminds me of a fat koel chick being left behind by its cuckoo parents for a pair of little wattle birds to raise and, as it grows bigger and fatter, the wattle birds grow skinnier trying to feed it. The last council meeting saw Councillor Anthony Mayne ask a very bold question…. “..with all the increases in fees and charges of 1.9% here and 2.3% there has anyone actually added all these up for an average Eurobodalla household so that the message can be packaed to ratepayers that they can now expect to pay $X more per year”.
The looks he received from the bench were similar to the looks that one might receive if one had just soiled ones trousers and now have filled the chamber with a putrid smell. The answer… NO
In every Council report there is a section that looks at the Social Impact and the Financial Impact of any of their decisions however that impact is all about Council and has nothing to do with the impact on residents socially or financially. To them the residents and ratepayers are just a boundless bucket of money and sadly they are limited by legislation as to how much they can bump up their fees and charges. It was terrific to see Councillor Mayne ask the question and though the response was that such a figure might be provided in future years the comments around the gallery sounded something like “pigs bum” There is a developing strength coming in councillors who are beginning to ask more and more difficult questions of staff and with each of the questions layers of an unsavoury onion are beginning to be peeled back with the result being that Council, whether they like it or not, are being forced into the open to finally become Open and Transparent. This year has already seen a record number of Codes of Conduct raised against Eurobodalla by embers of the public as they too develop more strength and a clearer understanding of exactly what Council can and can’t do. The two years ahead should be interesting to see how it all unfurls One thing for certain is that the more the Council attempts to keep things behind closed doors the more it all comes back to bite them on the bum and presently the seat of Council’s backside is looking somewhat ragged.
Until next Lei