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A street sign has more importance than a developing fiscal blowout in the millions

The Beagle Editor,

Council Meeting 26 November

Some "big ticket" motions were on Tuesday’s council meeting agenda but went through unanimously without a single question or explanation from councillors!

What about the Annual Report's $3.5 million commitment to major contracts for aspects of the Batemans Bay Regional Aquatic, Arts and Leisure Centre when council doesn't yet know what to do until after tenders are called if/after the state Regional Planning Panel approves the DA!

Council happily rejected the idea of earmarking proceeds from the sale of council's share of Southern Phone, worth some $800,000, for job creation projects. That suggestion got knocked back because there is no certainty the sale would go ahead. Can't do it for $800,000 but $3.5 million is OK, eh?

Similarly, in the September Quarter Budget Review, the deferment of a $16.57 million capital expenditure item for the BBRAALC to 2020-2021 didn't rate a mention. Sure councillors might have had this explained during a briefing but what about letting the community know? Where was this money coming from? It’s not in line with the grants that aren't in the bank yet, so was it coming from council reserves or maybe new loans - again for a project that council doesn't know will ever happen! The other unquestioned matter concerned council's $117 million investments in bank deposits. Some questions might have been raised about the effects future Reserve Bank interest decisions might have on council's investment income.

Wouldn't you think that raising, recording and passing on the above sort of information would be more important uses of meeting time than the 20 minutes or so – it seemed longer – being spent on what signs were forgotten to be provided in Narooma?

Are our councillors “with it”? Some questions have been asked and I’ll let you know if I get any answers!

Jeff de Jager


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