Mayoral matters: Exciting times at Dungog, but lots to do

AGENDA: New Dungog mayor Tracy Norman says financial and structural sustainability are major factors in a possible amalgamation.
AGENDA: New Dungog mayor Tracy Norman says financial and structural sustainability are major factors in a possible amalgamation.

A new and very energised group is ready to hit the ground running after the first meeting of the newly elected Council. We know there is a big job to do and we’re keen to get underway.

Councillors will be holding a number of workshops with senior staff to be briefed on the current situation. We will then be considering our options and looking at the best approach in regards to the results of the poll on amalgamation.

One certainty is that Dungog Shire needs to be in a strong position financially and structurally if it is to be considered a viable merger partner. A raft of measures will be discussed and, with the skills and experience of the new Councillors, I would bet that many novel ideas will be forthcoming over the next few weeks.

The Acting General Manager, Shaun Chandler has engaged consultancy firm, Morrison and Low to put some numbers together on the state of Council’s finances, as well as future projections. Once Councillors are cognisant of the numbers, we can truly look at developing a course of action that will meet the community’s needs.

One measure that has been repeatedly flagged in the past is the looking at the possibility of a Special Rate Variation (SRV). This may be put forward for Councillors’ consideration once we have firm numbers. Community consultation is vital in this process as community engagement on, and approval of, such a strategy is one of the key factors in determining the awarding of a SRV.

Communication

Councillors are keen to communicate with the community. In case you were not already aware, your new councillors are:

A Ward: Cr Tracy Norman, Cr John Connors, Cr Jan Lyon.

B Ward: Cr Stephen Low, Cr Greg Riley, Cr Digby Rayward.

C Ward: Cr Glenn Wall, Cr Robert Booth, Cr Kate Murphy.

Councillors’ contact details are available at www.dungog.nsw.gov.au.

I am still running my open house on Friday mornings at 224 Dowling St, Dungog, and will be looking at having meeting points around the Shire on a regular basis, so watch this space.

Early Fire Season

The sound of the fire fighting helicopters as I write this is a timely reminder that fire season is well and truly upon us. A big thank you must go out to all the RFS and other fire-fighting volunteers, and to the National Parks and Wildlife staff for their tireless efforts to keep us and our properties safe.

Please have your fire plans ready and make sure all the family is aware of this plan, and ready to instigate it if the need arises. And please, stay safe.