Wrap of the September 2020 meeting
Published on 01 October 2020
NOTICES OF MOTION
Fines process already established
Councillor Tom Kennedy requested that Council develop and introduce an internal review process for any fines that are issued. The motion was voted down as there is already a clear independent review process in place offering four options for the review of fines in accordance with the guidelines issued by Revenue NSW.
Mayor to meet with Valuer General
Cr Kennedy requested that reports be prepared on the possibility of introducing a new rates subcategory for industrial businesses, and that Council prepare reports about backdating industrial rates to 2019-20 levels and giving industrial businesses a 'rates holiday'. The response to the motion noted that rates had increased in the industrial area as the Value General increased industrial land values by around 55% in late 2019. The response also noted that the cost of any rates discount afforded to industrial businesses would have to be covered by residential or commercial ratepayers, and that rates cannot be changed retrospectively once a financial year has commenced. An amendment was instead passed that the Mayor urgently meet with the Valuer General to try and address the disproportionate rise in land value experienced in the city's industrial area. A meeting has been arranged for next week.
VIC volunteer assistance considered
Cr Kennedy requested that Council immediately reinstate pre-COVID-19 operating hours at the Visitor Information Centre (VIC) and prepare a report around the possibility of staffing the VIC with a mix of volunteers and Council staff. The money saved by using volunteers could then be used to market the city. The response noted that the VIC is currently in the process of increasing its service capacity despite budget limitations, and increased cleaning and sanitisation requirements in line with COVID-19 measures. The response also noted that a return to weekend operation is currently under investigation along with the collection of visitation data. An amendment was passed requesting that Council prepare a report around the possibility of using a mix of volunteers and staff at the VIC to restore the service to pre-COVID-19 levels.
Leave roads to staff: Councillors
Cr Kennedy requested that a policy be introduced stating that road works that affect a local business must be approved by a resolution of Council. Councillor Marion Browne argued that Councillors are not engineers and should not involve themselves in road construction. The motion was voted down.
Cr Adams retains Deputy role
Councillor Christine Adams has retained the position of Deputy Mayor after her nomination for the position received six votes from fellow Councillors. Cr Kennedy also nominated for the role, and received two votes.
Professional development for Councillors
Councillors agreed to a Councillor Development Program focused on leading by example and establishing a strong values-based leadership culture amongst the elected body.
Motions set for State conference
Councillors agreed on motions to be tabled at the 2020 Local Government NSW Conference. The first motion will oppose the introduction of any universal postal voting system for future NSW Government elections. The second motion opposes a recommendation by IPART that mines be rated in a similar fashion to commercial businesses as the change would adversely affect mining communities. The conference will be held in the Hunter Valley on November 22 and Council will participate via teleconference.
Smoking policy adopted
Councillors adopted a policy to ensure public playgrounds and sporting reserves are smoke free areas. The policy will be added to Council's website, and can be found on page 104 of this month's business papers.
Draft financials to audit
Councillors voted to submit Council's draft 2019/20 draft Financial Statements for audit.
Public Art Policy adopted
Council adopted a new Public Art Policy. The policy aims to provide a framework and guidelines for the acquisition, assessment, and development of public art. The policy will be added to Council's website and can be found on page 109 of this month's business papers.
Investment Policy on display
Council's Investment Policy has been reviewed and will go on public display for 28 days. The investment policy ensures Council representatives exercise care and diligence and take a prudent approach to the investment of any funds that are surplus to Council's immediate requirements. The draft policy can be found on Page 127 of this month's business papers and submissions can be made here.
Boost for business decoration
Council has been forced to cancel the Christmas Pageant and New Year’s Eve celebrations due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions on outdoor events. However Council will use the money set aside for the event to provide $250 dollar-for-dollar grants for CBD businesses to decorate their shop windows and awnings. Council will also look to hold multiple fireworks displays in different areas across the city on New Year’s Eve as locals will be unable to gather in the CBD to watch a central display. Council will also investigate other ideas to celebrate the holiday season.
Rates relief for golf
Council agreed to provide a $6,000 annual rates subsidy for the Broken Hill Golf Course to help ensure its viability into the future.
Conditional lease for arts body
Council agreed to grant five-year lease for the Alma Mechanics Institute in Patton Street to West Darling Arts provided they are successful in securing a grant to undertake major renovation works on the building.