A letter to the editor by Gympie councillor Glen Hartwig, September 23, 2016.
A NECASSSARY part of the relationship between the rate payer and the council is trust.
When that diminishes or evaporates I feel we have a crisis. So much of what we do in council is based around the necessity that there is a good, open, honest relationship between council and the people of the region.
How else can you be assured that matters are dealt with in an appropriate manner, that your money is being spent in a way that gets the best return for you and that your friends and family that make up our staff are treated with the same dignity that you would afford yourself.
Basic principles are not rocket science. Given the expressed lack of trust that appears to exist between council and the rate payer I feel it is time council stood up and represented the owner of the business, the people that matter.
I have taken the stand I have as a matter of principle. I assumed that council and staff would work hand in glove but there appears to be a created divide between the two greater than what it should be. We are in effect working for the same cause, the rate payer.
The decline in reserves does concern me. This region had a council that was rated as number one in the state for many areas, particularly financial sustainability. Our insistent push for beautification, street scaping at the sacrifice of the basics is another are that raised issues.
I am yet to have a rate payer call me and complain that their town was too ugly. They have however complained that the road shook their teeth out and wanted to invoice council for the dentists appointment to have them put back in.
This is a core responsibility and when we have been doing these core duties well and have some money left over, then, of course it could be spent to make things more liveable. But getting the basics right first is paramount.
Trust however is the foundation. Without it we have nothing. I am concerned we are at a crisis point.
Councillor, Gympie Regional Council