OPINION: Ratepayers believe no one’s driving the bus

IF ANYONE attending this week's Southern Downs Regional Council meeting was surprised at the stinging criticism the council received over "council wastage", it probably was not the council.

The councillors and administrators know full well the parlous state of the town's budget and the long haul they face in pegging it back in an increasingly needy world.

Councils have long since felt the sting of public backlash at the polls for profligate public spending. But sadly, a mess has been left for others to clean up.

So this council does not need to be told it's in debt, that it spends more than it earns, that it cannot continue to look out the window and whistle. What it does need to be told is that it has to sort out its finances ... and smartly.

The council knows that when ratepayers are pushed into a corner and asked to give more than the fair-minded among us are prepared to give, they will squeal. And squeal they did this week.

Save our Shire Action Group member Sue Johnson let rip, listing workshops, a council app, the use of consultants and palatial waste transfer stations as "council wastage".

"You must use ratepayers' money wisely and carefully" she said.

Council can bunker down and hope it all goes away ... or take the lead and invite us along, explaining its plan to reverse our indebtedness.


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