Latest News from Mayor Kathy Sajowitz - 16 June 2016

I hope everyone enjoyed the recent long weekend, it was great to see so many tourists in town enjoying what Oberon has to offer, we will soon be gearing up for the school holidays, apparently it may be snowing according to the long range forecasters – that always ensures plenty of visitors.

As at the time of writing this column there is still no news to report regarding the legal action being pursued by Oberon, Cabonne and others in the Land and Environment Court in relation to the forced amalgamation of Oberon Council and Bathurst Regional Council. According to various media reports and verbal commentary Minister Toole still seems determined to implement the merger proposal should the challenge be unsuccessful.

The Anti-amalgamation Group who have been steadfast in their support of the decision for Oberon to adopt a “Stand Alone” position, are holding a simultaneous one hour rally on Saturday June 18 commencing at 10am in the Main Street of town adjacent to the Council Chambers. As far as I am aware Cabonne, Gundagai, Tumbarumba, Queanbeyan, Gloucester and Taree Councils amongst others, are also participating. I have been advised flyers will deliver to as many households as possible this week giving further information.

Public meetings to engage the community in the Operational/Delivery Plan for 2016/17 have now been held and it was refreshing to see so many community members getting involved. Despite the poor weather last week the village meetings were well attended. Residents now have until Monday 28 June to comment by submission. These submissions can be lodged at council or personally via email to council@oberon.nsw.gov.au.

During 2015/16 a special rate variation was levied with the intention of allocating this extra revenue to addressing the road infrastructure backlog, I can advise that the $243,000 raised was spent upgrading 2.6km of Hazelgrove Road and 1.2km of Campbells River Road. To be targeted in 2016/17 are Lowes Mount Road, Beaconsfield Road and Campbells River Road. Feedback from the community has been very positive in relation to these initiatives.

Council continues to provide extensive annual section 356 community donations and in kind assistance to schools, community/sorting groups to assist with designated projects. 2016/17 sees a proposed $73,000 of requested funds. This is one of the ways council supports and assists the community therefore enriching the social fabric of the LGA.

We are expecting visits this week from several candidates contesting the seat of Calare in the upcoming July 2 elections. Pre-polling is now available at 250 Howick Street, Bathurst, also in Lithgow. Unfortunately, no smaller centres have been allocated pre-polling locations.

Plans are progressing for the Country Living Expo event, Council are partnering with OBTA to showcase the area and display the advantages of living in or visiting a rural community such as ours. The Expo is scheduled for August at Homebush.

If you have not yet used the free tip vouchers allocated to ratepayers during 2015/16 I urge you to do so, they expire on June 30. This has been a very successful initiative and well supported by the community. I will be keen to hear if this scheme has impacted on illegal dumping in the forests and other areas.

Mayor Kathy Sajowitz