A large crowd is expected to attend Dungog's council meeting tonight

ART IS LIFE: Members of the arts society making the pro merger headbands. Julie Fitzgerald is front left.
ART IS LIFE: Members of the arts society making the pro merger headbands. Julie Fitzgerald is front left.

A large public gallery – many wearing pro merger headbands – is expected at tonight’s Dungog Shire council meeting when councillors are to consider a report on “The Future”.

Dozens of headbands were crafted on Tuesday by Julie Fitzgerald from the Dungog Arts Society following a call to arms by pro merger supporters on various Facebook pages to attend the meeting.

Mayor Harold Johnston is expected to move a Mayoral Minute calling for the council  to defer a decision on the Port Stephens voluntary amalgamation proposal until the April 2017 meeting of Council.

In a report to the council, Cr Johnston said the deferral would give the council an opportunity to meet with Deputy Premier John Barilaro in early April to have some issues clarified.

The issues to be addressed include financial support for the council if it stands alone; financial support if the council decides to voluntarily merge with Port Stephens, rates and the process involved in a voluntary merger.

“The outcomes of the meeting with the Deputy Premier should guide this Council in making a decision on the future of the Council for the long term benefit of our communities,” wrote Cr Johnston.

Read the full report to the council here.