TENTERFIELD Shire Council has opted to go it alone in their fight for survival as they wrangle with state government over how to remain ‘Fit for the Future’.
The State Government launched its Fit for the Future campaign last year in an attempt to reduce councils and streamline the way they operate.
At their February monthly meeting Tenterfield Shire Council voted to support a recommendation that would see them signed up to the ‘Council Improvement Proposal – Template 2’ rather than a Rural Council structure.
“There may be serious social implications should council opt for the Rural Council Model as this model is for smaller councils with static and/or declining populations and therefore it is expected that services will decrease or be outsourced or removed altogether,” council general manager Lotta Jackson’s report warned.
Council’s general manager Lotta Jackson
Under the chosen model council will need to adhere to stringent ratios and find further ways to supplement their accounts.
The most critical ratio is the Operating Performance Ratio which will force council to consider future revenue increases and a decrease in expenditure – allowing for potential rate variations on top of what has already been handed down.
“Further special rates variations are also likely to be sought in order to cover infrastructure renewal/ maintenance and depreciation expenses,” the council report said.
Tenterfield council representatives were in attendance at a Rural Council Model work-shop in Sydney late last year and from that surmised the proposed model wouldn’t suit council’s needs or that of ratepayers.
“We believe we are a growing area – an open up area not a closing down one.
“The rural model throws up too many dilemmas,” Ms Jackson said.
Councillor Gary Verri said it would be a dark day if council opted to sign up for a rural model and outsource services.
“We wouldn’t be doing our job as a council – we would have failed,” Cr Verri said.
Council’s “Road Map” to be “fit” under state government ruling is due to be submitted by June this year.
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