New rates and no bus stops.

Signe Westerberg Headshots (96 of 102)I had the pleasure of attending the Liverpool Transport Task force meeting yesterday, they meet every month to discuss all manner of issues facing Liverpool commuters and yesterday the room (albeit very small) was packed to overflowing with members and a vast array of bus company owners, NSW transport types (RMS) and some council staff to discuss the continued concerns regarding Bus pickup and drop offs in Moore Street. The Members of the group produced an informative video showing some of the major concerns allowing the bus companies, RMS and council staff to see what is and why their concerns are so very much in need of attention. One throw away line from an RMS exec was that council had not added one additional bus stop in the last 4 years, (Council pays for bus stops) while quickly acknowledged  by the council staff it wasn’t disputed. Now considering we are about to be hit with (depending on how you respond to the survey,  a 14% rate increase this year and a 16.5% the following and in the last 5 years have paid an extra $30+m odd in additional rates, what has that money been used for?  The positive out of the meeting was that the membership now understood better how things are funded, what council pays, what the bus companies are responsible for and what RMS can and cannot do to improve the situation.  At the end of the meeting I was delighted to hear those present official types  decide to venture to the Moore street  to see for themselves what, if anything could be done, quickly, efficiently and NOW. As the major exit point for the CBD shoppers the Moore Street bus pick up area leaves A LOT  to be desired but this diligent, hard working local group not only put forward complaints and concerns but real and viable actions that could achieve a better out come for our city. You may have seen some of their articles in the paper over the years however this relatively small group has achieved some really good outcomes and I applaud their efforts..and look forward to continuing my involvement with them, while I have been a member for some years now, I do have more time nowadays. Not being encumbered I can now look more closely at the things council is and IS NOT doing and will continue to voice my praise or concerns here.

Council meets tomorrow night for the first meeting of 2014. I have been reading the business papers and as I mentioned we seem pretty certain  of being lumbered with another rate increase, well at least this stage an application for one. If you feel what is happening in Liverpool is against what you consider fair, you could still write to IPART and lodge your concerns before they consider the application from council. If you are interested contact me and I’ll give you the address. While in a perfect world we wouldn’t have to question the actions of our council I do believe a number of submissions have been made to the DLG highlighting some issues the community feels are not being covered as they should and others that get more ‘attention’ than entitled. Also I believe the issue of the GM is to be raised again, having read the entire document and knowing the unlikely inclusion it is one to watch out for as a Mayoral Minute.  One nonsense piece I noticed was that the Deputy Mayor position is to be considered as a 6mth appointment, seems to me either someone isn’t playing nice in the playground  and not doing what the #powermadmayor wants or someone else wants a crack at the Deputy Job.  Good grief what a load, the deputy (in the past) has worked quite hard and not been compensated at all so what is happening with this lot that 6months is a sufficient term, and while I really don’t care to much as to the duration of the role, there will be significant costs associated with such a change and one needs to ask  DO WE REALLY HAVE TO WASTE EVEN MORE MONEY ON THIS FOLLY? Keep  in mind the present deputy was only re-elected in September. What can I say, clearly we have money to burn, $300,000 plus on two events, a mayoral credit card, paid political advisers, and not one bus stop in 4yrs…. oh and let’s not forget another( proposed) rate increase grrrrrrr.

Additionally $760,000 is being allocated for:

Review of all Workforce Management operating procedures and systems
Corporate Systems Audit
Performance Management System
Procurement Reforms
Review of Child Care Services
Customer Service Training
Service Level Agreements
Strategic Property Development Team (temporary project appointment)

Why hasn’t this been allocated as normal business expenditure in the budget, why are we not seeing this budgetary impost properly planned and instigated over forward budgeting.? While all these services quite likely are required, why have we now got to seek additional funding to ensure the delivery?

Good to see a facility has been found for the Men’s Shed enterprise and I am also delighted to see the staff put forward a return to better practice with regards to the code of meeting practice and trust that clearer heads prevail this time round, especially with that advice from the Division of Local Govt (DLG).

Some of you may recall a previous article I wrote in relation to retrospective DA approvals….well this (below) is an online only article regarding such approvals. It should be noted that I have been told the Liberal party Liverpool  were in receipt of hefty donations from this organisation. The Liberal Councillors all declared a NON Pecuniary interest….Hmmmm?

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/public-outrage-over-al-amanah-college-islamic-school-expansion-at-liverpool/story-fni0cx4q-1226814984619#social-comments

Then consider the following information as recorded in the minutes of the Council meeting for the 18th December link here: http://www.liverpool.nsw.gov.au/council/council-meetings

All Six Liberal Councillors voted for and supported the approvals and proceeded after the meeting vote to engage with the applicants and appeared to ascertain whether they  were satisfied with the outcome. I was particularly interested when one of the waiting members of the School group began to ‘whoop whoop’ and make comment  loudly while the decision was being debated and the manner in which this fellow was silenced at the time got my attention, I couldn’t hear the actual comments but the subduing of his comments most certainly got my attention. While this is only one instance there could and likely are others where the Liberal party received donations and yet declared non pecuniary interest…. please note in the instance of this school another Councillor voted against others in his party to vote for the application which under normal circumstances wouldn’t raise an eyebrow but a pattern is emerging and one we should be aware  of and no doubt is noticed by those of his own political persuasion. 

Well 6 pm tomorrow night I will be at the council chambers, I hope if you decide to attend you come up and say hello, I will attempt to share any relevant information with you via this  blog and sometimes Twitter during the meeting. I would be most interested to know if you felt the outcome of the community engagement reflected your attitude to the rate increase. As I’ve said before I don’t expect everyone to support my view but to a person not one has said to me that they supported the rate increase…which when you consider the councils outcome, has me wondering.

Please also note that the Liverpool Leaders event is planned for the 19th February at Bringelly Hall,  the Premier has to my knowledge not confirmed his attendance however has been asked so we’ll see if he is genuinely interested in hearing from the community, especially those who may be lumbered with an airport and whose #powermadmayor is advocating they get the intermodal as well.

Sign off

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