Subscribing (non voluntarily) to Bellingen Shire Council, I am thrilled to be serving under (as reported) the best regional council in NSW.
If Bellingen is the best, try to imagine the worst.
I must ask does this award represent the performance of all regional councils or just those prepared to spend ratepayers' money on a submission described by a council representative as a huge body of work?
No doubt a huge body of work cost ratepayers a huge body of cash, better expended on roads rather than to boost someone's ego.
Described by our mayor as a challenging time prior to their submission, the year saw floods, bushfires, drought and then COVID-19.
But there's been no serious flood for years, the shire dodged the fires which ravaged adjoining shires, it was dry late 2019 early 2020 but not a serious drought locally, and then the pandemic. A stressful time for some, and certainly a hit for some businesses, mainly hospitality and travel. But ups and downs are the reality in the real world.
How was council impacted by any of the above, apart from some assistance during the pandemic?
Their biggest headache is to spend and distribute those huge government packages to recover from something that basically never impacted our shire.
I concede that these days community expectations of local government's role is more than just roads and bridges, but it should not extend to become the local nappy changer for an increasingly welfare-oriented society.
That other furphy floated is our shire having 57 per cent unrateable land. What a bonus not having to service this huge backyard, no obligation to spend a cent on National Parks and State Forests.
But the big ones are Waterfall Way east to west and Pacific Highway north to south. Two main highways intersecting the shire funded by state and federal money. And contracted maintenance on Waterfall Way is yet another money tree.
I do agree with our mayor that we're so lucky to live in such a unique and beautiful area.