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Editorial July 24th 2020

Welcome to this week’s editorial, Next Tuesday’s Council meeting will see our councillors make the BIGGEST decision of their political lives when they vote to accept a tender in excess of $60 million dollar to further design and construct the Mackay Park project in Batemans Bay. The councillors are NOT going to reveal how much the building will cost because that shall remain a secret. We know they have a guaranteed $55 million for the project but, based on advice from a consulting quantity surveyor, they were given the heads up that they better find more dollars. So the councillors sat around and discussed, in secret, what they intend to see by way of parks, reserves and assets including selling the Batemans Bay Information Centre for $1 million (dreaming). They also looked at where they could move money from within their restricted accounts and came up with a brilliant idea to use Section 94 contributions as a short term buffer in order to “Move Forward” and turn a sod on the project. This last “great idea” of using Section 94 money (levied monetary contributions for public amenities required as a consequence of developments) is the by-product of ‘behind closed door’ workshops. Most of the councillors will now enter the chamber on Tuesday cocksure that they will have the voting numbers required to see the tender approved for an undisclosed sum thereby also endorsing the sale of unnamed assets, unnamed parks and reserves and taking out loans of undisclosed amounts to cover the tender. They are also confident that they have the dollars required for ‘contingencies’ from their Section 94 funds. Certainly enough to cover their backsides until the next Council election in September 2021. From then on if the project blows out and the operating costs far exceed the over inflated incomes then that will be the problem of the next council—and will have to be met by the ratepayers. So in a nutshell. Next Tuesday councillors will vote to spend a secret amount of ratepayer money and agreed to sell off a secret stash of ratepayer assets to pay for a building that will cost an undisclosed amount and if it fails we will all have to pay an unknown amount more in our rates. Let’s see who the councillors represent Until next lei