End of an era for Mayor Merv King
TONIGHT will be the final meeting for at least five of Lismore's 12 councillors, with Mayor Merv King, Crs Irwin, Tomlinson, Hampton and Crimmins deciding not to stand again at the elections in September.
Mayor Merv King wasn't feeling particularly emotional or philosophical when The Northern Star asked him about his last meeting after 12 years on council.
“It's the end of something,” he said with a laugh.
“It's been an interesting time, a time when Lismore has progressed and developed very well, particularly in the last eight or nine years, and I'm very pleased to have been a part of it.”
He said the achievements he was particularly proud of included the Lismore Library moving to bigger and better facilities, the upgrade of the memorial baths and start of the Goonellabah Sports and Aquatic Centre.
He also mentioned the installation of CCTV cameras in the Lismore CBD, the late-nighter bus, and continuing good relationship with police to reduce alcohol-related crime as another highlight.
Cr Ros Irwin, who has been on the council for 17 years, including two years as mayor, said she felt 'liberated' to be finishing up.
“From my perspective being on council is about representing the community, which is what I've tried to do, and it has been an absolute privilege and one that I've taken very seriously,” she said.
“But in terms of being a part of the council, I'll be glad to be gone.
“I don't like the way local government is going. It's becoming very factionalised, which is a real loss to the community.”
Cr Irwin said when she started on council she felt she could achieve a lot for the community, even though Lismore has always been a conservative council.
“People would listen to what was said in a debate. Now decisions are made before people come to council meetings, which is very sad and anti-democratic.”
Council is now officially in caretaker mode in the lead-up to elections on September 13.
The agenda for tonight's meeting doesn't have any major issues to be determined after the rescission motion about rezoning at McLeans Ridges was determined at an extraordinary meeting on July 29.
A formal performance review of the general manager, Paul O'Sullivan, will take place at the end of the meeting, but this will not be open to members of the public or the media.
Council will also determine the fees to be paid to the incoming mayor and councillors.
Under the Local Government Act, councillors in NSW can be paid a minimum of $6870 and a maximum of $15,120 per annum. The mayor will be paid a fee of between $14,610 and $33,010 per annum.
Also on the agenda, Cr Vanessa Ekins has put forward a notice of motion that all new residential, commercial and industrial buildings be fitted with a rainwater tank as a mandatory requirement.
There is also a report recommending that council investigate ways to fund a solar heating system for the Lismore Memorial Pool.