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BVSRRA last won the day on September 6 2019

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  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. “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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  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. 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
  11. 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
  12. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aqdx47Rp0tY
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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