I READ the article in the Southern Highlands News (Monday, March 9), ‘No budget information session’ quoting the responses of Councillors Clark, Turland, Gair to Clr Scandrett’s motion to hold a public workshop regarding council’s budget and Fit for the Future reporting.
Clr Clark is quoted that “the public weren’t greatly interested” in the budget and that councillors were elected to “go through the budget line by line, page by page…the public have elected you to do that”.
Clrs Turland and Gair were also not supportive of the motion, calling it “an election campaign” and “self promotion” respectively.
It was disappointing to read these responses. I can assure all councillors that residents are very interested in how public funds – from their rates and taxes – are spent by council.
I elect local government officials to represent my views in decision-making processes that will impact upon services and public amenity across the shire and I am interested in the nature and outcomes of those decisions.
Please don’t assume that residents are not interested in the work of council nor where our money goes.
Many local councils across NSW work with their communities to discuss draft budget management plans. Many local councils organise public information sessions where residents can learn about the proposed allocation of funds across infrastructure and capital works projects, environment and community management programs and initiatives, administration and staffing.
They have the opportunity to ask questions about proposed projects and the associated expenditure.
It demonstrates open, fair and transparent local government. It recognises the inclusive relationship between a local council and its community.
Our councillors need to recognise that times have changed and these days the community expects information about proposed council expenditure and involvement in how public funds are spent.
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