The annual report of a local council should be required reading for all ratepayers, especially when an election is not that far away. You get to see what the council believes were its “achievements’’ in the most recent financial year, but more importantly, how it spent your rates, which is just another word for taxes.
Recent laws have forced councils to even tell you what their highest paid staff earn every year, as well as how much your elected representatives pocketed.
Of course the report doesn’t tell you how hard or otherwise councillors worked for their remuneration, and it’s true some work much harder than some others.
The other interesting figures published in the annual reports is how much they spend on consultants.
At Campbelltown Council, for example, that figure for 2018-19 was $3.9 million.
And if you go back and have a look at previous years there is clear trend of spending increasing substantially since 2016, when it was $1.6 million, in 2017 it went up to $2.028 million and in 2018 it was $2.943 million.
That’s more than $10 million paid to consultants over just four years.
If any councillor is questioning both the amounts involved and the apparent increase year on year, the report doesn’t say.
It does say that the general manager, Lindy Deitz, who was promoted to the top job four years ago, earned $376,912 last financial year.
Council’s management structure consists of the GM and five directors.
According to the annual report, the five directors combined took home $1.42 million.
The mayor was paid an annual allowance of $66,860, but he also pocketed the councillor’s allowance of $25,160, taking his total remuneration to $92,000.
Labor councillor George Brticevic has occupied the mayoral chair for the past three and a bit years.
The expenses for all councillors during the year came to $173,731.
Oh, the election: well, that’s on next September, 2020.
Speaking of elections there are preselection rumblings for certain ALP councillors at Camden Council, who are being challenged by other party members.
With Labor a good chance to wrestle the balance of power from the Liberals, being on the party ticket has become, well, a hot ticket item.
We hear one attempt to take one top spot in one of the wards failed on Saturday, but watch this space.
The Liberals have their own challenges, both in Camden and Campbelltow, but it’s early days yet.
And when these two Liberal Party members bumped into each other it was all sweetness and light.
Member for Camden Peter Sidgreaves and former Campbelltown mayor Paul Hawker (left) gravitated towards each other at the Youth Solutions Christmas safety campaign launch last week.
It was a little disappointing to hear that Coles at Glenquarie town centre is gone, but luckily Woolies is still there to serve locals’ grocery shopping needs.
Coles closed its doors just six days ago on November 12.
But why is it that these things are always done just before Christmas?
“These things’’ includes telling people their job no longer exists, and among them this year will be my former Fairfax Community Newspapers colleague Jeff McGill.
I bumped into “Magoo’’ at the halal snack pack Guinness book of records attempt in Queen Street, where he was taking photos for our old paper.
As well as taking pictures, Jeff has been writing an opinion piece for the “Macad’’ since he took a redundancy two years ago from Fairfax.
“It’s all going, there’s no more money,’’ he told me as we watched Mayor George Brticevic getting ready to celebrate the world’s biggest halal snack pack.
It’s all quite sad, really, to see some of Macarthur’s best journos sidelined at a time when their investigative prowess is needed more than ever.
At Campbelltown Council’s last meeting two of the three chairs in the media box were empty.
Thanks to Geoff Corrigan (and better half, Sue) winning the 2019 Melbourne Cup with their gelding Vow and Declare, we now also know that the 1877 Melbourne Cup winner Chester had Camden connections.
According to local amateur historian Mark Latham, Chester is buried at Kirkham.
Latham, who is now a One Nation MP in the upper house of the NSW parliament, went on Twitter after Vow and Declare’s victory to post that the Chester gravesite is in dire need of repair and the now cashed up Corrigan should use some of winnings to pay for it.
When the South West Voice in Macarthur interviewed Corrigan about his Cup win, we did ask him about Latham’s comments.
We think Corrigan found Latham’s Twitter post amusing at best, saying there were a lot more cashed up Camdenites who could pay for the repairs of the Chester gravesite.