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Council to come under attack at Tuesday's meeting


The first ordinary meeting of Council to be held in Moruya on Tuesday Feb 12th should be a doozie that will see Council coming under attack from several quarters Starting at 9:30am in the Public Access session will be representatives of the Malua Bay community asking Council why it persists in a continued push to sell Pretty Point Public Reserve when in 1995 they gave an assurity to the community they would never sell it and formally advised in 2005 that they would not be selling it only to have staff now recommending once again its sale in order to provide revenue to Council. Following on from those presentations will be members of the Batemans Bay community asking questions around conflicts of interest with respect to future uses of the proposed Mackay Park centre with the emphasis on the mooted gymnasium; asbestos on the Bowling Club site and the the blowout of costs related to the geo technical testing on the pool site as indicated by Stephen Phipps At 10am during Public Access there will be a presentation regarding the insistence of Council to gain a judges seat on the Sculpture on Clyde event which is the annual legacy event put on by the Batemans Bay Business and Tourism Chamber to establish a civic sculpture walk. Council insists on control of this event and remains at loggerheads with the Chamber who wish to see the event maintain its non-political integrity Though it won't be of interest to most in the community the new 2018 Model Code of Conduct for Local Councils in NSW (the Model Code of Conduct) and Procedures for the Model Code of Conduct for Local Councils in NSW (Procedures) requires Council to adopt a code of conduct and procedures based on the prescribed Model Code of Conduct and Procedures. Joyfully there are two key bits. The first bit of joy for Council is the new changes made to address the lack of recourse against members of the public who inappropriately disclose information about complaints they have made under a council’s code of conduct. What this means to Council is that they have supported that a recourse be set in place to stop you, the community, from knowing the findings of codes of conduct made by you, the community against the general manager, mayor or councillors. Up to now they had no means to stop the public becoming aware of the findings. Now, much to the delight of some members of council staff, the new code has recourse...... which has a loophole the size of a truck that the Beagle will drive through. Secondly another key change to the Model Code of Conduct includes:  new standards relating to discrimination and harassment, bullying, work health and safety, behavior at meetings, access to information and maintenance of council reports  new rules governing the acceptance of gifts including mandatory reporting  a new ongoing disclosure requirement for councillors and designated persons requiring disclosure of new interests in returns of interests within three months of becoming aware of them  councillors will be required to disclosure in their returns of interests whether they are a property developer or a close associate of a property developer. (Watch this space as it is more than relevant) At Council's meeting they will only be putting up the motion to seek community submissions on the new code. The last thing on the agenda is the most interesting with the presentation of the Annual Financial Statements for the year ended 30 June 2018, including the Independent Auditor’s Reports, as required by the Local Government Act 1993. Staff numbers have gone up 15.2% from 427 to 492 Full Time Employees costing ratepayers $38.9m Employee expenses are up 8.3% overall Meanwhile water and sewer businesses remain profitable potentially able to pay combined dividends totalling up to $2.6m. Total income from these two businesses was $38m non-capital and $7.7 capital giving $45.8m total and producing a combined net surplus of $10.267m, or 22.4% of total income. You might remember Councillor McGinlay establishing, in a formal council meeting, that Council intentionally maintains higher water and sewer rates as it relies on the annual dividend to feed the General Fund which is constrained to to rise above CPI. To enjoy all the fun you can either attend the Council Chamber in Moruya or Live Stream it on Council's website from 10am onwards


Above: In 2019 Council will need to brace for the turning tide of dissent as the community gains its voice as they discover more of what Council have been hiding

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