Local councils across Southern NSW are heading into their final 12 months. Voters will go to the polls to elect new councillors in September 2020.
Campaigning will build and platforms develop with each council meeting between now and polling day.
Twelve months out, Snowy Monaro Regional Council has opted for a fresh face as Mayor. While Michelago’s John Rooney who held the position for the two previous years didn’t contest the vote of his peers, the writing was perhaps already on the wall.
A no-confidence motion passed in April this year was the beginning of the end of Cr Rooney’s leadership as the first Mayor of the merged Cooma-Monaro, Snowy River and Bombala councils.
New Mayor Peter Beer chaired his first council meeting as Mayor earlier this month in Bombala. Speaking to Region Media, Cr Beer says he feels the group of men and women around the table are “getting happier”.
“It will be my aim to get them working together, let’s see the results and people will judge then,” Cr Beer says.
As an organisation Snowy Monaro Regional Council is embarking on a restructure of staff positions, signalling more change for the merged entity.
“Our main priority at the moment is trying to reorganise the council in a way that means we can be more effective over this area,” Cr Beer says.
“We are trying to work out the best way to deliver services with the staff we’ve got.
“Most councils have a general manager with three or four directors to carry out the services, but this area is so large that the Council has decided that we will look at a restructure.”
The Jindabyne-based former Snowy River Shire Councillor says the detail is still with the General Manager for staff consultation. Cr Beer is hoping the new structure will not only serve the three old council areas better but also key local interests like tourism, government services, timber, rural issues and primary production, fishing and connections to Canberra.
“All those communities have different desires, different aims. We have to try to accommodate them all,” he says.
Snowy 2.0, the Jindabyne Masterplan and the Bombala timber processing mill are three key opportunities Cr Beer says he would like to see Council make the most of.
“We still don’t know what the impact of Snowy 2.0 will be – that will be an immense project. We are waiting for our briefing on that. How will our services cope? It’s something we’ll have to work with the powers-that-be on.”
Snowy Monaro Regional Council next meets on 17 October in Cooma. The NSW Local Government Election will be held on 12 September 2020.
Original Article published by Ian Campbell on About Regional.