Byron Shire Deputy Mayor Basil Cameron wants the council’s finances to be more transparent by introducing a budget estimates public access meeting.
He says the proposal would allow residents to quiz staff on the detail of the draft budget at a public meeting of the Finance Advisory Committee (FAC) during the public exhibition period.
Cr Cameron, who was elected as an independent said, ‘We have seen the importance of access to detailed information for the Community Solutions Panel (CSP) in its deliberations on future funding for infrastructure. Now it is time to extend that principle to the broader community.
‘The idea is to help build an understanding of the complexity of Council finances and the challenges of meeting the expectations of the community with a limited pot of money.
‘In a rapidly changing world awash with information and opinion of uncertain accuracy, we need to take democracy to the next level.
‘Twenty-first-century democracy is strengthened when we bring an informed community into the decision making process.
‘We can no longer rely on asking the community to comment on fully formed decisions; rather we need to reach into the community to help form the ideas and solutions that take us in a sustainable direction.’
His idea is that a Public Access – Budget Estimates meeting would meet for a day with the general manager and directors of planning, infrastructure and community/corporate services facing questions from residents.