16 C
Byron Shire
May 24, 2022

GM rewarded as RVC ratepayers hit

Latest News

Bringing learning and play together

Byron Bay High School’s new agility course recognises the importance of play for learning and has students from all years actively playing during breaks and PDHPE lessons, according to Byron Bay High’s Principal, Janine Marcus.

Other News

Coal fired. How are the major parties planning for its end?

There’s very little economic future for fossil fuels, even if you ignore the environmental effects. Renewable energy is cheaper, including battery storage.

Gameau’s Regenerating Australia screens May 20

Regenerating Australia, by Damon Gameau, is a short film that looks back at the next ten years from the eve of 2029 and recounts all of the actions we have taken on climate change and ecological degradation.

Assange – election

As we think about where to put our mark on the ballot paper in this election, spare some time...

Kevin Hogan returns for Page

Though the coalition government he represents is now in opposition, National Party candidate for Page, Kevin Hogan, has been returned to his seat and yesterday he released a statement to all media.

Race action at the TVSC Mother’s Day meet

A dedicated fleet of 13 boats took to the water for the Tweed Valley Sailing Club’s (TVSC) Winter series on Mother’s Day earlier this month.

$17m in funds for work on crown lands in NSW

If you are involved in managing crown reserve land and facilities then now is the time to get that application in for a share of the $17 million that is available fro the 2022-3 funding round. 

Richmond Valley Council GM John Walker. Photo Valley Watchdog
Not feeling the pinch: Richmond Valley Council GM John Walker will be paid $240,000 next financial year. Photo Valley Watchdog

The Richmond Valley Council (RVC) is preparing ratepayers for a tough budget while hoping it will still receive its requested above-cap rate hike.

Mayor Ernie Bennett said council planned to deliver a $339,000 working funds surplus in the 2014/15 budget even if it had to stay within the budget cap.

But, he admits, it won’t come without some pain.

GM John Walker added that austere measures would be required to offset increases in ‘non-controllable costs’, such as salaries, and the absence of any significant new income items.

GM’s salary hike

One of the ‘non-controllable’ costs is Mr Walker’s own salary of $240,000 for the next financial year, which was approved by Richmond Valley Council last night.

Richmond Valley councillors approved unanimously the $10,400 increase in Mr Walker’s pay packet at last night’s meeting of Council.

The increase included a 2.5 per cent award increase plus bonus for performance based on undisclosed key performance indicators (KPIs) set by and assessed by councillors.

The KPIs are not available for public scrutiny.

Dr Richard Gates from the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome Committee told Echonetdaily there was ‘very little discussion about the proposed increase by councillors’ before the unanimous vote was taken bringing the GM’s salary package to $240,000.

‘Mr Walker declared an interest in the item regarding his salary increase at the beginning of the council meeting but did not leave the chamber while the recommendation was being discussed and the vote taken on the proposed increase,’ Dr Gates said.

During public access Dr Gates asked Council to withdraw its application to IPART for a 42 per cent rate increase over the next five years because of the new financial burden to be placed on ratepayers by the federal budget on top of the council increase.

He said that it represented a ‘double whammy which ratepayers could ill-afford’.

Roads rates & rubbish

‘We can sustain surplus budgets such as this one if we seriously review what we do across our organisation,’ Mr Walker said.

Mayor Bennett said the council was looking to find savings through ‘alternate ways to provide services’ by moving ‘to a different model that achieves a saving but not at the expense of services to the community’.

He did not expand on how this alternative model might work but said that measure would include not indexing funding to Council programs in line with the CPI.

In line with the old adage ‘road, rates and rubbish’, more than half the council’s $52.38 million budget will be channelled into roads, water reticulation and sewerage system improvements.

RVC will spend more than $2 million on water and $1.5 million on sewerage in the coming financial year.

It is also punting on some generosity from the state government on roads to make up for the harsh cuts imposed by the feds last week.

Mr Walker said while the recent federal budget included a freeze on indexation increases of federal assistance grants over the next three years, Council was confident a boost to Roads to Recovery funds and a new bridges program would alleviate any shortfall.

Mayor Bennett sounded a sombre note with relation to RVC’s application for a special rate variation from IPART.

‘If Council is not successful in its application for the special rate variation, or has a variation approved at a decreased level than in the application, Council will have to meet to further discuss its pathway forward,’ Mayor Bennett said.

‘Any decrease in the requested rate will hinder Council’s goal of being financially sustainable in the medium term and will limit what commitments within the Community Strategic Plan can be delivered.’

 


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Another pig at the trough, and we are expected to take up the hardship while these very important people have lunch that would cost the amount of a lot of ratepayers a weekly or fortnightly income….. makes me sick…. it’s all wrong and we let ride by without a complaint…. they are all taking us for a ride and laughing!

  2. A quarter of a million dollars annual salary for being party to irreparable devastation to prime agricultural land. Words don’t do justice to the disgust such news engenders.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Race action at the TVSC Mother’s Day meet

A dedicated fleet of 13 boats took to the water for the Tweed Valley Sailing Club’s (TVSC) Winter series on Mother’s Day earlier this month.

Entertainment in the Byron Shire for the week beginning 25 May, 2022

The Jezabels The Jezabels are on a national tour to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of their multi-award winning Gold Album Prisoner. For the first time, the band will be playing their...

Comment: Bridging the flooded divide

In the sodden floodplains the divide among those affected has never been clearer – those who were insured, and those who weren’t, renters and owners, Lismore LGA and everywhere else.

Grants to support arts and culture flood recovery

Nearly 50 arts and cultural organisations, screen practitioners, individual artists and collaborative groups impacted by recent floods will have access to $500,000 in funding.