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March Council meeting summary

Bland Shire Council held its March monthly meeting at the Bland Shire Council Chambers on Tuesday 15 March.

A summary of the matters discussed, and resolutions made (in order of discussion), is below –

Council is on track to meet the targets and objectives set out in its 2015-2016 Operational Plan. At the mid-point of the financial year, 335 of the 354 actions identified in the 2015-2016 Operational Plan were either completed or in progress.

Council General Manager, Ray Smith, tabled a service delivery and organisational structure review. The review identified savings to Council of $638,750 in the next financial year from the natural attrition of staff, the reduction in the need for Council vehicles and the reduction in the need to pay some housing allowances.

Council will hold an extraordinary meeting on Tuesday 5 April to consider tenders for the refurbishment of the West Wyalong Sports Stadium. Tenders close tomorrow 18 March. Pending the outcome of the extraordinary meeting it is anticipated that handover of the facility to the successful tenderer will take place on Monday 11 April.

Bland Shire Council has advised the Rural Fire Service (RFS) that it is not in a financial position to meet a proposed budget increase of up to 22 per cent in the next financial year to fund the purchase of a CAT 6 and the construction of two new double bay sheds. While the RFS was proposing an increase to Council’s contribution of up to 22 per cent, New South Wales Councils are restricted to a 1.8 per cent increase in earnings from rates due to rate pegging limits imposed by the State Government.

Council is proposing to increase rates by 1.8 per cent in 2016-2017. Members of the community will have a chance to comment when Council adopts its Draft 2016-2017 Operational Plan for public comment at its next meeting on 19 April.

Council has adopted an amended Grants and Donations Policy. To promote sustainability and ensure Council grants can be accessed by as many groups and organisations as possible, the new policy includes a condition that grants and donations for all recurrent community events and programs will reduce on a sliding scale of at least 25 per cent per annum or funding application to a maximum of 10 per cent of the initial funding level for the life of the project. The initiative is designed to encourage groups to plan sustainable events which do not rely on ongoing grants and donations from Council to survive and prosper.

Council approved Strengthening Communities grants of $4000 to the Weethalle Rodeo and $2000 to the West Wyalong Harness Racing Club towards its Carnival of Cups meeting on 3 April. From a starting pool of $50,000 there is now only $571 remaining in Council’s Strengthening Communities grants fund.

A number of matters were also dealt with in the closed section of Council, including -

On the motion of Councillor Lincoln Pike and seconded by Councillor Brian Monaghan, Council resolved to call for expressions of interest for a commercial lease of its premises at 184 Main Street (the old Elders building). Council has set the lease fee at $250 for the first year and then subject to annual market review while the lessee will be responsible for the payment of all utilities and Council rates. Council is seeking a five year lease with an option for a further five years or an option to purchase at the end of five years subject to Council approval. The motion also included a condition that the first offer of refusal be extended to the party which had previously expressed an interest in the property. That party has subsequently turned down the offer.Interested parties are asked to contact Executive Assistant Julie Sharpe on 6972 2266 or email

On the motion of Councillor Tony Lord and seconded by Councillor Liz McGlynn, Council resolved to offer an extended lease to the lessee of the West Wyalong Caravan Park. Following an address by lessee Jamie Adams in the public forum section of the meeting, Council agreed to offer a 10 years lease with a further 10 year option to 2036.

On the motion of Councillor Lincoln Pike and seconded by Councillor Tony Lord, Council has identified McCann Park as the proposed location for a Visitor Information Centre in West Wyalong.The costs to establish and run a Visitor Information Centre from McCann Park will be presented to Councillors for consideration in its 2016-2017 budget deliberations.In the meantime, the Visitor Information Centre will remain in the Bland Shire library.