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  1. Yesterday
  2. 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
  3. Last week
  4. 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
  5. 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.
  6. 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
  7. Earlier
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Council has shot itself in the foot yet again. The gang that can’t shoot straight wrote to the association a week before Christmas making a number of false claims in respect of informal requests for information made by the association under Section 8 of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (NSW) (GIPA Act). In response, the association has placed council on notice that it will no longer exercise the same patience that it has to-date in waiting for council to respond to its inquiries, but will press its legitimate rights to obtain access to information at the earliest opportunity. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---the-gang-that-can-t-shoot-straight---30.12.2019.pdf
  14. If there’s one thing that council does better than spend other peoples’ money, it is to give it away. Back in September, 2018, council’s general manager advised council that a Pambula developer was very keen to build a new supermarket in the town, but needed an easement over ratepayer-owned land in order for his development to proceed. So, it was no surprise when council’s general manager recommended to council that it grant the easement requested by the developer for “nil compensation”. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---generous-to-a-fault---27.12.2019.pdf
  15. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aqdx47Rp0tY
  16. Suggestions that council is refusing to comment on its 2018-2019 financial performance to avoid spoiling the Festive Season for its residents & ratepayers have proved to be without foundation. Followers of council’s financial adventures would be aware of the forecast results for 2018-2019 signed-off by council in March of this year, just three months before the end of the financial year. Those forecasts indicated that council was confident that it would end the year with a consolidated net operating deficit of $2.124M vs a budgeted deficit of $1.709M: certainly nothing to be alarmed about. Fast forward to October 31st, 2019 when council quietly released its’ 2018-2019 Unaudited Financial Statements & suddenly things had turned ugly. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---a-financial-shambles---23.12.2019.pdf
  17. The association has this week made a brief submission to council in respect of the Draft Swimming Pools Strategy. The association reminded council that it had made previous submissions in respect of the Swimming Pools Discussion Paper after it was placed on Public Exhibition back in September, 2019, but the issues that it had raised had been ignored. The association encourages all ratepayers to write to council voicing their opposition to the proposed SRV & rejecting the Draft Swimming Pools Strategy for that reason. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---in-treacherous-waters---19.12.2019.pdf
  18. In an interview on local radio earlier this month, Cr Sharon Tapscott said that the Merimbula Airport runway extension was “always short-funded” & that council has always said that “it will get a loan to finish it off” & that loan will be serviced by the airport reserve fund. Not true Sharon. Any suggestion that the runway extension was “always short-funded” is either totally false or a direct acknowledgement that both the state government & the residents & ratepayers were deliberately misled as to the cost of those works. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---on-deception---17.12.2019.pdf
  19. So, the NSW Department of Planning, Industry & Environment (DPE) has been fined a total of $213,250 after releasing chemicals into a creek in Kosciusko National Park. If the state government or its bureaucratic enablers had the slightest intention of making its agencies genuinely responsible for their actions, they would impose fines of the members of the senior management allegedly accountable for the actions of their agencies. This bureaucratic bullshit also goes on at a local government level as evidenced by council being fined $15,000 by the NSW Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) almost three years ago for breaching its licence conditions for the operation of the Central Waste Facility at Wolumla. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---just-another-scam---15.12.2019.pdf
  20. A few days ago, the recently appointed President of the Merimbula Chamber of Commerce, Nigel Ayling, chided the association for its alleged use of “emotive terms” & for “name calling” in its articles. While Mr Ayling is as entitled to his opinion as anyone-else, the association believes that such criticisms are all too often used as a device to distract the community from the real issues being raised. At the same time, the association believes that if Mr Ayling & his ilk are genuinely interested in improving the standard of community debate, they would insist that the same standard should be observed by everyone, including councillors, the local media & other self-appointed apologists for city hall. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---on-name-calling---13.12.2019.pdf
  21. There are many things wrong with council’s pursuit of its proposed SRV, involving numerous deceits perpetrated by councillors & paid public officials, including council’s deliberate flouting of its own policy requirements & its lazy & irresponsible refusal to examine alternate avenues of funding. However, not even the voluminous 2,500 word bureaucratic concoction being served-up to today’s ordinary meeting of council can conceal the scam. The shell game that seems to be in progress with ratepayers over council’s proposed SRV for the pools only serves to strengthen the view of the association that the council should be dismissed as soon as possible & an Administrator appointed. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---on-phony-numbers---11.12.2019.pdf
  22. The association has written to the Minister for Local Government, the Hon Shelley Hancock MP, calling for the dismissal of council. The decision by the association to call for the council’s dismissal was prompted by a number of recent actions which it believes are dishonest, reflect a fundamental breach of the requirements of Councillors’ Charter & a betrayal of the community’s trust, such that the community can no longer have confidence in the council. At the heart of the association’s call is the strong belief that unless the council is dismissed, the effective & proper administration of local government affairs in the Bega Valley by council will continue to deteriorate at significant potential cost to residents, ratepayers & ultimately the entire community. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---end-of-the-road---08.12.2019.pdf
  23. The association believes that council is involved in a game of distraction in the forlorn hope that some miracle will pass its way & make everything better, not appreciating at all that the solution to its increasing problems was always in its own hands if it would but resolve to pursue it. Last week, when confronted yet again with the mounting evidence of council’s financial ineptitude, one councillor expressed the view that the elected council should be able to rely on the general manager to address such matters & that it was unfair to expect councillors who receive less than $20K in annual fees to be responsible for making sure that council officials meet their obligations. So, if you can’t handle the heat councillor, what are you doing in the kitchen? Just pack your bag & get the hell out of there. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---the-Palace-of-Dreams---06.12.2019.pdf
  24. Over the course of two meetings & more than an hour’s confused discussion, council struggled to resolve whether it should accept or reject a cash offer for its two Southern Phone shares. At its simplest, council’s task was to decide (on behalf of our increasingly put-upon ratepayers) if it wanted the $785K being offered or nothing at all? The association doesn’t think that one needs to be a councillor to work-out the answer to that question. The rest was just self-serving posturing & pap. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---on-doing-nothing---04.12.2019.pdf
  25. A couple of weeks ago, the association was again reminded of its often expressed criticism of the administrative arrangements that govern the running of council meetings & the public broadcasting of those proceedings via the podcast mechanism used by council. While all NSW councils are obliged to publicly broadcast their meetings & public forums, ostensibly to better inform the community of their activities, the standard of such arrangements varies dramatically depending on where you live. Given the appalling quality of service provided by our council to those attempting to stay informed via its podcast service, the association can only conclude that its councillors & council officials must either never listen to the broadcasts or simply don’t care. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---on-the-basics---01.12.2019.pdf
  26. As anyone paying attention knows full well, council has an outstanding record when it comes to buggering things up. And like governments the world over, it has an even more dubious record in refusing to acknowledge the fact, while routinely denying any responsibility anyway. Whether it’s to knowingly publish false financial statements, to forget to hold a Quarterly Budget Review meeting, to approve changes to budgets riddled with errors, ranging from the duplication of figures to the inclusion of wrong figures or to approve an Annual Report without even having read it, the pattern of incompetence is painfully consistent. So, the association would like to know who has been driving council’s financial bus for the past couple of years, because based on the litany of embarrassing failures that it has managed to chalk-up, it seems that no-one has. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---on-incompetence---29.11.2019.pdf
  27. According to a report tabled at the ordinary meeting of council on June 8th, 2016 by the then Director Strategy & Business Services, the definitive cost of undertaking the Merimbula Airport expansion project was $7,762,208 exactly. At its simplest, the project consisted of three main elements, funded partly by the Federal & State Governments & partly by the ratepayers of the Bega Valley Shire. Little wonder that council is so keen to pick ratepayers’ pockets for $1.38M through its proposed SRV for the shire’s swimming pools when, based on the numbers, projects originally intended to cost just $7.76M four years ago, including a ratepayer contribution of just $1.2M, now appear to have blown-out to a cost of $17.93M (more than double), with ratepayers’ contributions looking like they will amount to $11.37M (an almost 10 fold increase) … & the project hasn’t actually started yet. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---on-bad-dreams---25.11.2019.pdf
  28. Yet another well-known exponent of “fake news”, the Member for Bega, Andrew Constance, was at it again this week when interviewed on ABC Radio over the latest kerfuffle arising from the 2018 Reedy Swamp/Tathra bushfire disaster. At the end of the day, notwithstanding the claims made by Mr Constance, the association could find no evidence to support his claim that the tree/s that allegedly fell on the power lines in Reedy Swamp Road were “outside the clearance area”. This is a particularly important issue of fact as it goes to the potential negligence & legal liability of Essential Energy for not having adequately protected & maintained its electrical infrastructure, thereby giving rise to the cause of the fire. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---mr-spin---22.11.2019.pdf
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