MIDCOAST Council held a public information session in Tea Gardens last week to update the community on the progress of the merger.
The meeting wasattended by Administrator John Turner, Interim General Manager Glenn Handford, senior staff and committee members including Jan McWilliams and Len Roberts.
Mr Handford said Council was making the community a priority from the start.
“There will be lots of community engagement during the transition process,” he said.
“There will also be an emphasis on relationships with the State and Federal governments, as well as the community.”
Mr Handford said although there weremany uncertain features of the new MidCoast Council,“it was pretty much business as usual.”
The newly formed Council has $1.4b in combined assets and a projected operating revenue of $155.4m.
With an infrastructure backlog of $20.56m,Mr Handfordsaid there was “a real need for honest feedback about the situation.”
“Council will attempt to chip away at the backlog using grants for specific projects such as roads which will help stem the shortfall,” he said.
Abudget shortfall is predicted for at least seven years and Mr Handford is hopeful the efficiencies that were made in the former Great Lakes Council could be carried over.
“It’s all about spending money in the areas of greatest need and becoming efficient in various areas of operation,” he said.
MidCoast Council is already working for their communities and is planning storm season preparation works to be undertaken at Jimmy’s Beach and has also allocated $50,000 in funding for the Marine Drive Foreshore Reference Group.
Questions raised by community members during the evening related to rates, local representation and funding.
Speaking with News of the Area, Administrator John Turner said the night was well attended and allowed the community to have their say.
“We want to do everything as seamlessly as possible, it is very early in the merger,” Mr Turner said.
“We look forward to future meetings and will continue to have constructive discussions with questions put forward from the local communities.”
Mr Turner said the community meeting was one of 10 information sessions be held throughout the MidCoast Council area.
A similar meeting will be held in Bulahdelah on Tuesday 12 July at 6:00pm in the School of Arts hall.