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  1. Last week
  2. While council’s general manager would have residents & ratepayers believe that council is perpetually down to its last dollar in attempting to meet its obligations to the community, the facts demonstrate that nothing could be further from the truth. Council appears to be an organisation that does well when it comes to consistently finding the necessary funds to execute its plans, notwithstanding its claims to the contrary, but it appears totally unable to manage the expenditure required by those plans. That council has managed to waste every dollar of the unbudgeted $17M in Income it has enjoyed over the past five years is testament to its chronic management deficiencies, while the inability of the elected council to recognise & correct that management deficiency is reason enough to justify its dismissal. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---nitpicking-again---30.03.2020.pdf
  3. Earlier
  4. In resolving to adopt the 2018-2019 Audited Financial Statements, council offered no explanation for the net consolidated deficit of $8.92M, nearly 5 times over Budget, or the even more astounding $14.92M deficit in the General Fund, itself nearly nine times over Budget The main reason the association entirely sceptical of council’s financial management is its consistent failure to provide full, open & transparent details pertaining to its activities, such that the community is not left in a constant state of confusion about matters that should rightly concern them on the one hand while, on the other, being denied the basic means necessary to assess council’s management performance. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---pigs-will-fly---23.03.2020.pdf
  5. A lot has been said in recent times about the level of distrust & dissatisfaction held by the community towards our political class. Over the years, the association has had occasion to correspond with numerous politicians on a variety of issues at a local, state & federal level. The experience is much the same & ranges from no response to a non-response. Very rare are the occasions where a politician of any kind, or a functionary acting on their behalf, will demonstrate any real interest in addressing the issues raised. The notion that our politicians are representatives of the people is utter nonsense. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---beneath-contempt---19.03.2020.pdf
  6. The association makes no secret of the fact that it believes that the Office of Local Government (OLG) makes every effort to avoid its responsibilities to ensure that NSW councils meet their obligations under the NSW Local Government Act 1993. The association has concluded that the OLG is a weak & ineffective organisation that adds little if anything of material value to the administration of local government in N The association’s opinion of the Minister for Local Government, the Hon Shelley Hancock MP, differs little from its views on the OLG. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---games-they-play---12.03.2020.pdf
  7. For the past eight years, the association has been a consistent critic of council over its failure to pursue meaningful cost saving initiatives to the benefit of residents & ratepayers. Against that background, the association was delighted to see the report tabled at council’s ordinary meeting in January, 2019, where the Director Assets & Operations sought council’s support for the Southern Lights Project, an initiative of local government regional organisations across NSW, including the Canberra Region Joint Organisation (CRJO), advocating the replacement of 83,000 street lights at a cost of $71.2M, to be funded by the state government. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---lights-out---09.03.2020.pdf
  8. While there have always been people in every community who have sought election as a Councillor with a view to pursuing their own self-interest, there have likewise always been people who have also sought election as Councillors who have been motivated by a genuine desire to serve their community. That elected Councillors are currently paid a relatively small annual fee reflects the fact that they are not employees but should, by-in-large, be motivated by a desire to perform community service. Of course, the difficulty that this arrangement presents is that there may be many competent & highly motivated people in the community who could make an outstanding contribution as Councillors but whose personal financial circumstances preclude them from doing so. The community is arguably the poorer as a result. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---on-community-service---06.03.2020.pdf
  9. Great to see council acknowledging the fine support provided by the ADF’s Combat Engineer Regiment in setting-up a water purification & desalination system in Brogo to support the provision of 400,000 litres of fresh water to Quaama, Cobargo & Bermagui, during this month’s water restrictions. Not so edifying is council’s corresponding effort to bask in the ADF’s reflected glory by providing a detailed account of its own efforts in trucking large quantities of drinking water from Bega for the same purpose. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---water-works---04.03.2020.pdf
  10. So, Mayor Kristy McBain thinks that the decision by the federal government to hand $10M to North Sydney Council to assist in the redevelopment of its famous pool was “very disappointing”. The member for Bega was more to the point in describing it as “disgusting”. Given that the $10M came from federal grant funding earmarked to provide assistance with swimming facilities in regional areas & given that North Sydney Council didn’t even apply for assistance, the association thinks that “corrupt” is a more appropriate description & is certainly one more commonly being used in the community to describe the activities of the current federal government in the wake of the “sports rorts scandal”. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---on-chutzpah---02.03.2020.pdf
  11. Whether it is caught-out adopting false annual financial statements, not holding statutory meetings, publishing incorrect information or attempting to deceive the community over its financial performance, council’s reaction is always to muddy the waters, shoot the messenger or restrict the availability of information that could highlight its ineptitude. For its part, the association simply wants council to be accountable for its actions, in particular as it is a public institution dealing with public funds. Of course, in the absence of openness & transparency, through ready & timely access to information, there can be no accountability. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---breaking-news---28.02.2020.pdf
  12. Eight weeks into the bushfire disaster recovery & it seems that the only properties that have been cleaned-up are those where the owners were prepared to pay for it themselves. As to the status of people rendered homeless or unemployed by the disaster, that remains a mystery. Meanwhile, many self-interested local tourism businesses have continued to cry poor & demand a government handout to compensate them for their alleged loss of revenue as a result of the disaster. Suggestions that any such assistance should be subject to the potential recipients being able to demonstrate that their alleged losses were “real” have been met with fierce resentment, prompting many in the community to see the proposal as nothing more than just another grab for a handout. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---on-system-failure---26.02.2020.pdf
  13. The association believes that government at all levels is still struggling to fully appreciate the true scale of the disaster & its implications, while it also believes that one of the reasons that there have been so many complaints voiced over the apparent slowness of government to respond is that fundamental lack of appreciation. Not only that, it now seems eminently clear that the traditional slow-moving bureaucratic-based response of government at all levels is impeding a more meaningful response to the real-world urgency created by the disaster. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---taking-care-of-business---24.02.2020.pdf
  14. In tabling her recommendation at the ordinary meeting of council held on February 5th, 2020, that a number of fees & charges should be waived in response to the recent bushfire disaster, general manager, Leanne Barnes, claimed that council is “working in a very fluid environment at the moment”. The association has previously voiced its concern that council appears to be pursuing initiatives, in particular in respect to business, which have not been adequately thought through, are not equitable & could prove to be divisive within the community. Like so much of government everywhere, council seems unable to differentiate between the pursuit of mindless “activity” & the pursuit of meaningful, measureable outcomes. When it comes to keeping-up appearances, it seems anything will do. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---keeping-uo-appearances---19.02.2020.pdf
  15. Back in 1999, council was dismissed & all civic offices declared vacant after an inquiry into the council found councillors had failed to meet the standards set down in the Local Government Act. Some 20 years on, little has changed, with the former general manager of council, whose wrongful dismissal precipitated its sacking, regularly taking issue with the current council for its persistent failure to respect due process & uphold best practice standards of good governance. And so it was that the association wrote to the Minister for Local Government, the Hon Shelley Hancock MP, at the end of last year, calling for the dismissal of the current council. Read more … http://www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---on-government---17.02.2020.pdf
  16. The association believes that council’s very first imperative for the people of the Bega Valley Shire is to ensure that those families who have lost their homes, whether owned or rented, are temporarily rehoused as quickly as possible & that council & other local agencies should be doing their utmost to facilitate those arrangements, with direct financial assistance provided by the state government. The association recognises that not everyone made homeless is in need of the same level of assistance & support & that many are more than capable of making alternate arrangements for themselves: it is those who not possess that capability that our thinking is being directed. The association believes that the second most important imperative is for council to assist those who are unemployed as a result of the disaster to find work & if the work is not there, create it. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents-Ratepayers-Associaion--BVSRRA----Media-Release---from-disaster-to-recovery--14.02.2020.pdf
  17. It seems more and more apparent that Local Council do have a license to kill; to use an Ian Flemming line. Their arrogance and disregard to the rate payers is palpable. Something needs to done to bring them into line, that is, if they are Not part of the Big Picture: ie. Big Brother.
  18. “Casual employees out of work. Recreational businesses take a loss. Holidaymakers become refugees trapped in Paradise in my caravan or simply told to GO HOME. Burnt out locals become refugees in their own country. Local homeowners /renters lose house and home, garden, furniture, cars, computers, memories & memorabilia, along with record collections, books, beds, toiletries, toys, hobby supplies, treasured tools, boats, motorbikes & their kids lose all their stuff.” And while some refugees claiming relief funds are denied promised service, Volunteers are sacked, docked pay, or come home from defending their community to find they’ve been burnt out. Local homeowners struggle to buy local supplies due to broken supply chains, while farmers have no fodder for dairy cattle on burnt out paddocks. Power cuts mean everyone is reduced to subsistence living … Show me one person who would not be out of pocket in some way. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---on-disasters---20.01.2020.pdf
  19. The association cannot recall an occasion when Cr Dodds has responded constructively or positively to an issue it has raised over the three years she has been a councillor. Indeed, the association can say with a degree of certainly that the only occasions it has heard from council’s self-appointed, virtue-signaller-in-chief is when she has climbed on her high horse in order to make false accusations against the association or to criticise its members. Pretension, double standards, hypocrisy & a stubborn refusal to address the real issues are words that readily come to mind Cr Dodds. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---on-sticks---stones---18.01.2020.pdf
  20. On December 6th, 2019, the association wrote to the Minister for Local Government, the Hon Shelley Hancock MP, calling for the dismissal of council. Based on the response of the Minister & the OLG, the association believes that councils in NSW have, unsurprisingly, come to the view that they are effectively empowered to act as a law unto themselves. Given that the Minister for Local Government does not believe that the circumstances raised by the association constitute “a serious breakdown in council operations & major flaws in council processes” that would justify her intervention, the association has now written to the Minister asking her to confirm “what would constitute such circumstances”. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---a-law-unto-itself---16.01.2020.pdf
  21. This may appear a little conspiratorial! But I think that Council's are nothing but surrogate entities of State and Federal Governments. Councils get away with things that other organizations dare to enter into or attempt. They can barge into your property and enforce all sorts of arrogant demands. And speaking of arrogance has as anyone ever met a subservient or acquiescent Council Officer? I don't think there are any! Thus my assumption that they are nothing but Government agencies in a different guise.
  22. When it comes to financial management, one of the things that council seems to do well is to accurately budget its Income. When it comes to the issue of council’s management of Expenses however, the picture is a good deal less encouraging & potentially more alarming. Given comments by the Mayor & Deputy Mayor in the past couple of days asserting that council’s application for the SRV will not be pursued (notwithstanding that no such decision has been taken by council), the apparent lack of contingency plans is of great concern. Certainly we are living in interesting times. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---on-crying-poor---13.01.2020.pdf
  23. A critical feature of the 350 pages of documents placed on Public Exhibition by council on December 11th, 2019, reflecting its draft integrated planning & reporting documents, including its updated financial strategy, asset plans, long term financial plan, operational plan, budget & fees & charges, is the fact that they allegedly reflect the inclusion & financial impact of council’s proposed $2.028M Special Rate Variation (SRV). There are a significant number of discrepancies in the financial information provided. While the association is encouraged by recent talk that council is actually considering abandoning its proposed SRV, images of the Mayor attempting to talk-up the importance of community support for local business, while council threatens ratepayers with the biggest rate rise in the shire’s history, only acts to underscore the absurdity of its proposal. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---on-the-nose---10.01.2020.pdf
  24. The very first thing to say about the 350 pages of documents placed on Public Exhibition by council on December 11th, 2019 is that many of them are simply illegible. So how many people would be able to wade through, let alone understand the mountain of information published by council, including complicated & confusing financial data, made even more complex by a plethora of government mandated policies, regulations, rulings & standards? Indeed, how many would even want to try to find their way through this labyrinth, even if they could? Mission accomplished. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---on-grand-plans---01.01.2020.pdf
  25. This Bloody Bayside Council. All they can do is build Towers filling the suburbs up with Immigrants and changing the face and culture of our Country. While clogging the streets with traffic and traffic lights making travel around our streets a nightmare. The skips are all going to the bush; exacerbating the Bush Fire risks. These Politicians have sold us down the drain all for the the short term BUCK: While using Local Government as their Pawn.
  26. This Bloody Bayside Council. All they can do is build Towers filling the suburbs up with Immigrants and changing the face and culture of our Country. While clogging the streets with traffic and traffic lights making travel around our streets a nightmare. The skips are all going to the bush; exacerbating the Bush Fire risks. These Politicians have sold us down the drain all for the the short term BUCK: While using Local Government as their Pawn.
  27. If you think Your Mob are bad come down to Bayside Melbourne. All they can do is build Towers filling the suburbs up with Immigrants and changing the face and culture of our Country. While clogging the streets with traffic and traffic lights making travel around our streets a nightmare. The skips are all going to the bush; exacerbating the Bush Fire risks. These Politicians have sold us down the drain all for the the short term BUCK: While using Local Government as their Pawn.
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