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  1. Last week
  2. There are many in our community who believe that the most responsible way to deal with the disposal of our sewage effluent is to upgrade its treatment to a near potable or drinking water standard, minimising the environmental impact of the water, regardless of how it was ultimately disposed of. The Bega Valley community is a whole lot more enlightened than its council & that it would be negligent not to examine alternate strategies to the proposed Ocean Outfall Pipeline. Given the ravages of drought & bushfire, the association believes it is high time that council started to think of sewage effluent as a potential valuable resource rather than an item of waste with little or no value. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---a-one-track-mind---10.07.2020.pdf
  3. Mayor Sharon Tapscott continues to sow confusion with many of her public claims. While the association has publicly acknowledged the good works undertaken in our community by the Social Justice Advocates of the Sapphire Coast (SJA), it has also made it clear that will not support the so-called “Community Disaster Relief Fund” that SJA has opted to manage on behalf of council, until & unless it conforms with the terms of the resolution of council adopted in August, 2019. The association believes that the arrangements around the establishment of the Community Disaster Relief Fund have been mismanaged & that the fund will not be able to fully realise its purpose until & unless those shortcomings are rectified. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---ready,-fire,-aim---08.07.2020.pdf
  4. During her latest monthly interview on Sapphire FM Community Radio last week, Mayor Sharon Tapscott was asked about a report in the Merimbula News Weekly that had raised serious questions as to the status of council’s cash reserves. As the association highlighted only a week ago, council has an extensive record of deliberately attempting to mislead residents & ratepayers about its financial affairs. This latest episode, coupled with Cr Tapscott’s clumsy response, has done nothing to reassure the community that anything has changed. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---a-moment-in-time---06.07.2020.pdf
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  6. Ian Campbell suggests that Kristy McBain’s leadership is honest, empathetic, smart & serves the community, leadership that is truly "of the people - for the people", but he makes no mention of a phony leadership Award from the Minister for Local Government & a fictitious leadership Award from the Governor-General. While the association acknowledges that Cr McBain is a popular figure in our community, it believes that “popularity” is no substitute for “leadership”, just as “activity” should never be mistaken for “achievement”. Anyone who would like to learn about inspirational leadership should read about Lennie. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---the-leadership-thing---03.07.2020.pdf
  7. The association wishes to publicly endorse the action of Crs Nadin & Bain in proposing that an independent assessment of council’s financial position be conducted. The association also wishes to congratulate the MNW for shining a light on these important issues of concern for all ratepayers, in particular given the reluctances of some sections of the local media to publicly scrutinise the behaviour of council, while shielding it from criticism. Should council fail to act on the recommendation of Crs Nadin & Bain, the association will once again call on the Minister for Local Government to initiate an independent investigation into the deficiencies of council’s financial management & subject to the outcome of that investigation, to terminate the elected council & appoint an Administrator. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---final-call---01.07.2020.pdf
  8. Over the past few months, our communities have been regaled by our political leaders as to the importance of “resilience” & how our communities needed to rebuild from within, relying on their own resources & strength rather than depending on the largesse of politicians & governments. Perhaps part of being “resilient” is to have the courage to say “no” to the usual blandishments of the major parties & to say “yes” to one of our own? Don’t vote Liberal or Labor: Why not vote for Eden-Monaro. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---dirty-tricks---29.06.2020.pdf
  9. At this week’s ordinary council meeting, councillors noted that in the opinion of its Performance Review Committee, council’s general manager Leanne Barnes, “is performing more than satisfactorily & the councillors are appreciative of her commitment & dedication to the organisation & the Bega Valley community”. In a clear sign that it had damned Barnes with faint praise, the Performance Review Committee also noted that “the general manager, Leanne Barnes, did not meet expectations in the area of finance”. The association contends that none of the members of the current council deserve the confidence of residents & ratepayers any more than does council’s general manager, Ms Barnes. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---time-s-up---26.06.2020.pdf
  10. Yesterday we got to see most of what passes for council meetings these days, but were lucky if we heard half of what transpired. Not that that mattered that much anyhow, as there was little meaningful discussion/debate offered anyway. Isn’t it time that those responsible for maintaining the machinery of government were reminded that their first responsibility is to respond to & cater to the needs of the electorate, rather than to the convenience of bureaucrats & politicians who are supposedly the servants of that electorate? The association certainly believes that it is. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---what-a-joke---25.06.2020.pdf
  11. On June 10th, 2020, council once again lied to our community regarding its financial position. It offers no genuine justification in support of its claims eg: quantifying the scale of the alleged cost pressures that it has experienced. It simply grabs at the most convenient lie & boldly makes its claims safe in the knowledge that the majority will simply accept them without bothering to check. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---Poor-Fellow-Our-Country---22.06.2020.pdf
  12. Bega Valley Shire Councillors & petty bureaucrats are not the only poseurs who attempt to dine-out on the illusory promise of Merimbula Airport. Now Dr Kotvojs is back, this time taking-on a record field of candidates for the Eden-Monaro by-election, including the newly-minted Labor candidate & former Mayor, Cr Kristy McBain. But the lies haven’t changed Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---from-bad-to-worse---17.06.2020.pdf
  13. Earlier this month, Cr Tapscott made a valiant attempt to explain-away the $2M cost blowout for the new, very understated, Merimbula Airport Passenger Terminal. According to the latest information available from council, the ratepayers’ contribution to the total $4.4M cost of the project had jumped from $1.2M to $3.2M since the project was initiated, while the commonwealth government contributed via a $1.2M grant. Needless to say, Cr Tapscott’s claims seem to be entirely devoid of substance based on council’s own documents on the project. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---on-negligence---15.06.2020.pdf
  14. It seems clear that council is determined to walk back from its decision earlier this year to abandon plans for a Special Rate Variation (SRV) specifically designed to fund the shire’s six pools strategy. At the height of the bushfire disaster, council appeared to get cold feet over its plan & publicly acknowledged that it would not be pursuing the proposed SRV. Unsurprisingly, six months later it has shown that it is unable to resist the opportunity to dishonestly gouge ratepayers for additional funding, notwithstanding that there are strong reasons for not doing so, although its latest plan promises an additional 5% increase in rates on top pf the rate peg, every year for three years from 2023; an average aggregate increase of 22%. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---same-old,-same-old---12.06.2020.pdf same old, same old ....jfif
  15. "The ABC has very rigorous editorial processes to guide us on being fair and balanced in our content and we always do our best to meet those expectations." So says the ABC. The BVSRRA believes that there is more than ample evidence the demonstrates that ABC South East Radio is partisan & routinely acts to present a less than “fair & balanced” position on issues of importance to the community & in doing so fails to meet its own editorial standards. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---fair---balanced---08.06.2020.pdf
  16. Perhaps it is time for an independent review of council’s operations: a top to bottom performance analysis against the world’s best practise standards, with clear recommendations as to what options council may have to retain & improve the delivery of its services to residents & ratepayers, what services are truly viable & warrant retention vs those that simply serve to hold the organisation back. The association has no idea of what the outcome of such a review might be & what potential value it could unlock for the benefit of residents & ratepayers. Perhaps a little; perhaps a lot? But what is clear is that the numerous reviews conducted by council management over the past four years have produced nothing of value to residents & ratepayers. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---just-kickin--the-can---29.05.2020.pdf
  17. When the former Mayor, Cr Kristy McBain, resigned earlier this month, the association initially assumed that her primary reason for doing so was to allow her as much time as possible to campaign as the Labor candidate for Eden-Monaro. On the other hand, some residents have suggested that having been a popular Bega Valley Shire Councillor of long-standing & a declared “independent”, questions of a potential conflict of loyalties or interests may have unnecessarily complicated her plans. To be clear, Cr McBain was under no legal obligation to quit as Mayor in order to pursue the federal seat of Eden-Monaro. If she was worried about a perceived “conflict of loyalties”, why did she not resign as a Councillor, as well as Mayor? Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---the-Voice---27.05.2020.pdf
  18. In chairing her first ordinary meeting of council, the Mayor, Cr Tapscott, stated that one of her objectives is “to ensure that the community has a full understanding of the financial position of this council”. The association would respectfully suggest to Cr Tapscott that she could take immediate steps to publicly explain council’s 2018-2019 financial results, in particular the causes of the $14M net operating deficit in council’s General Fund & the almost $10M net operating deficit in the entity overall. The association does not believe it is necessary to establish a Finance Committee to do that. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---whither-accountability---22.05.2020.pdf accountability ....webp
  19. Heading the agenda for this week’s council meeting is a Mayoral Minute co-authored by the newly-elected Mayor & Deputy Mayor calling for the establishment of a new Finance Committee. The association is more than a little confused by this brilliant proposal, in particular as council is already supposed to have a Finance Committee amongst its six Standing Committees. Ratepayers can only assume that that, contrary to the Local Government Act, the activities of council’s standing Finance Committee have been abandoned sometime in the past, with this latest proposal by the Mayor & Deputy Mayor being made in another desperate attempt to be seen to be doing something. Too late she cried. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---too-late-she-cried---20.05.2020.pdf
  20. The decision by council to pursue the proposed ocean outfall pipeline in Merimbula/Pambula was the final step taken by council in a seven year campaign to achieve that outcome; an outcome facilitated by a stubborn determination on the part of council to misrepresent & mislead the community as to the options open to the community for the treatment & disposal of sewage effluent. Moreover, council’s campaign has involved repeated & deliberate attempts on the part of some councillors & council officials to misrepresent the facts, circumstances & requirements for the management of the project, such that the community has been given the impression that the proposed sewage ocean outfall pipeline is the only option available. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---the-fix---17.05.2020.pdf
  21. It seems that the sale of the Hotel Australasia continues to bedevil council. The association was more than a little surprised to receive an advice from council late yesterday confirming that the sale of the hotel had still not been settled, although it was expected that it would be settled within a month. The association was even more surprised this morning to learn that council had also advised the editor of the Merimbula News Weekly that the sale had been settled earlier yesterday afternoon. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---on-settlement---13.05.2020.pdf
  22. Based on its understanding of the resolution adopting a new Commercial Land Strategy at council’s ordinary meeting on April 29th, the association believes that Bega’s role as the designated “Regional Centre” of the Shire has been significantly downgraded. While former Mayor McBain plots her departure from city hall, it will be interesting to see if this “re-definition” of what constitutes Bega as the Regional Centre, that she facilitated, will cause any heartburn further up the planning food chain. What will doubtless prove to be of much greater importance will be if the change to Bega’s status as the Regional Centre will open the way to Merimbula/Tura Beach ultimately becoming the pre-eminent commercial district of the shire. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---what-s-in-a-name---11.05.2020.pdf
  23. In a shock statement following this week’s Mayoral election, Cr Robyn Bain claimed that council’s finances are in a “precarious situation” & that during a recent discussion involving councillors, all female councillors acknowledged that after nearly four years on council, they still did not understand council’s finances. The association is not surprised to learn of Cr Bain’s concerns about Cr Tapscott’s leadership capabilities, nor the lack of financial management capabilities on the part of councillors, but thinks it important that responsibility for this situation rests on the shoulders of all councillors for having failed to take meaningful action to correct the situation. Once again, the only losers in all of this are residents & ratepayers, with dwindling public confidence in government & politicians at all levels taking yet another battering over the past week. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---quelle-horreur---08.05.2020.pdf
  24. Following the resignation of Cr Kristy McBain as Mayor, council held an Extraordinary General Meeting yesterday to elect a Mayor for the interim period to September, 2020, when the next biennial election is scheduled. Two candidates nominated for the position: current Deputy Mayor & acting Mayor, Cr Sharon Tapscott, & Cr Robyn Bain. Unsurprisingly, Cr Tapcott was successful in her bid for the Mayoralty, enjoying the support of Crs Griff, Dodds, Seckold & McBain. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---business-as-usual---07.05.2020.pdf
  25. Residents & ratepayers may recall reference to the Community Disaster Relief Fund by council in recent months, in particular highlighting its availability to accept public donations to assist those in the community who had suffered personal losses as a result of the bushfire disaster, while council itself resolved to make a sizeable donation to the fund from the proceeds of sale of its Southern Phone shareholding. As it stands, the association believes that under the terms of the fund Charter & Rules, residents & ratepayers victim of any future event that was not a “Declared Natural Disaster” would be denied assistance from the fund, which was not the intention of council or the community. The association believes that council should act urgently to correct its mistake & perhaps take the trouble to explain how it occurred in the process. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---wrong-footed---25.04.2020.pdf
  26. With the much-touted state government funded bushfire clean-up still some three months away, residents & ratepayers were reminded yet again of just how little has been happening with the bushfire recovery when the Mayor confirmed that many non-essential council employees were on annual leave, while council’s general manager confirmed that not a single cent of the bushfire assistance promised by the federal government since before Christmas had been received over the past 16 weeks. And so it was that against that long empty space that the NSW Government last week finally managed to bring some much-needed hope & delight to a few of the many bushfire victims across NSW when it commenced delivering & installing 100 temporary portable housing units to some bushfire victims who have lost their homes. While all disasters are different & it is difficult to fairly compare the quality of responses to each, the fact that some 16 weeks into the NSW bushfire “recovery” & our state government has managed to find 100 temporary housing units for bushfire victims surely says it all. Read more … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---and-the-band-played-on---20.04.2020.pdf
  27. It seems an age ago that council resolved to abandon its pursuit of a $2.028M annual Special Rate Variation (SRV), allegedly required to support the shire’s six pools strategy. In speaking to the matters before council on January 29th, council’s general manager stated that: “There are no financial impacts for suspending the adoption of the IP&R documents that were placed on public exhibition. Further work will be required by staff to modify the documents.” The association does not accept the claim made by the general manager & believes that, based on the scale, duration & nature of the campaign mounted by council in support of the SRV over many months, that the cost of that campaign to ratepayers would have been significant. Read more: … www.begavalleyshireratepayers.asn.au/files/Bega-Valley-Shire-Residents---Ratepayers-Association--BVSRRA----Media-Release---just-another-rip-off---05.04.2020.pdf just another rip-off ....jfif
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