New era: First meeting of MidCoast Council councillors

Sworn in: Councillors Brad Christensen, Len Roberts, Karen Hutchinson, David Keegan, Claire Pontin, Peter Epov, Kathryn Bell, Katheryn Smith, David West, Troy Fowler and Jan McWilliams prior to the first council meeting. Photo: Rob Douglas.

Sworn in: Councillors Brad Christensen, Len Roberts, Karen Hutchinson, David Keegan, Claire Pontin, Peter Epov, Kathryn Bell, Katheryn Smith, David West, Troy Fowler and Jan McWilliams prior to the first council meeting. Photo: Rob Douglas.

“It’s an exciting time for the MidCoast community as we head into a new era,” said MidCoast Council general manager Glenn Handford.

The first ordinary meeting of MidCoast Council was held at council’s Taree adminstration centre on Wednesday, September 27, at 2pm.

It was preceded by the new councillors committing to represent the MidCoast community by taking an oath or affirmation of office.

“We have a committed group of elected representatives from across the Mid Coast area, and we look forward to working closely alongside them to continue the momentum we have built up over the past 16 months,” said Mr Handford.

“We welcome our new councillors as they take on the important role of guiding the strategic direction of council to deliver great outcomes region-wide.”

As part of the meeting, council adopted a meeting schedule through to February 2018.

A monthly ordinary council meeting will be held on the fourth Wednesday of each month at 2pm in the Taree administration centre, and a strategic committee meeting will be held on the second Wednesday of each month in the Forster administration centre (with some variances). The full schedule of meeting dates and times are can be found MidCoast Council’s website.

The council meeting continued on with current business-as-usual, covering agenda items that include the current capital works report, Stronger Communities funding progress, and water services reports.

A report considering the development application for a manufactured home estate in Tallwoods was deferred until October.

Councillors were also tasked to set the mayoral and councillor fees, as set by the Local Government Remuneration Tribunal. MidCoast Council is categorised as a Regional Rural Council. The mayoral fee is $42,120, with 10 per cent of that fee ($4212) being paid to the deputy mayor, in accordance with the former Great Lakes and Gloucester Shire Council's previous practice. The councillor fee is $19,310.

Councils categorised as Regional Strategic Area are differentiated from councils in the Regional Rural category on the basis of their significant population.

Council moved to seek a review of the status of MidCoast Council in light of the amalgamation and area size. Mr Handford advised council had written to seek an increase a few months ago and there had been no change, but would follow it up again.

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