Latest News from Kathy Sajowitz - Thursday 21 July 2016

I will firstly note the anniversary of the loss of former Mayor Clr John McMahon. John’s contribution of 24 years’ service to Oberon and its community should not go unacknowledged.

I am pleased to announce the grant application made through the Federal “Safer Streets Program” to upgrade and extend the CCTV coverage in the Main Street has been successful. Work will begin on the upgrade shortly. Council has also secured through the NSW Government Safer Roads Program over $1.2million to upgrade the Abercrombie Road at Paling Yards. Planning has already begun to implement this work program. 

I have received many angry phone calls relating to a Prime 7 News segment, broadcast Friday July 15. Complaints related to the demeanour of Minister Toole and Bathurst Deputy Mayor Clr Ian North, both of whom featured in the segment. I assume Clr North was speaking on behalf of his council as he was introduced as Councillor North not as a private citizen. The gist of the segment was twofold; firstly Clr North highlighted Bathurst ratepayer serious concerns that as a result of the legal challenge currently awaiting determination in the Land & Environment Court, they could unfairly inherit a huge debt (legal costs). Clr North saw this as irresponsible on the part of Oberon Council. In response could I say – when last I checked Oberon and Bathurst were still independently functioning councils making decisions in the best interest of their own communities. I would not presume to make comment pertaining to how Bathurst Council should run their organisation. I expect the same courtesy. The legal challenge is not yet determined so the final outcomes are unknown, unless of course Clr North is privy to information that I am not. I would also point out that Oberon ratepayers have similar concerns in relation Bathurst Councils Infrastructure backlog imposting upon them should a forced merger occur.

Secondly Minister Toole stated he had serious concerns in relation to the shocking waste of ratepayers funds in pursuing the legal challenge, his comment being “would councillors spend their own funds to pursue this course of action” This is comparing apples with oranges. Councils Business Paper was displayed on screen during the segment, highlighting the amount council had allocated to financing the challenge, no mention was made of the clear endorsement of this action by the community. In the interests of transparency details of funds allocated are made public by council. To clarify for the Oberon Community, when you look at the total amount expended so far it amounts to less than .06 of 1% of the total budget and is inclusive of the UTS Report and the Phone Poll undertaken earlier this year, also some funds have been set aside should we decide to appeal a negative determination.  If the Minister has legitimate concerns over the “shocking waste” of ratepayer’s funds, there are options available to address those concerns through the Local Government Act. Dealing with the perceived issue through the media is disappointing.

Mayor Kathy Sajowitz