Oberon Council decides not to reduce councillor numbers

OBERON will retain its current arrangement of nine councillors after a proposal to reduce the numbers as an efficiency measure received very little interest from the public.

Just one submission was received after the proposal to reduce the number of councillors to seven was put on public exhibition for several weeks, according to mayor Kathy Sajowitz.

The proposal went to a special meeting of council held last Tuesday, where the decision was made not to make the reduction.

Cr Sajowitz said it was “successfully argued” at the special council meeting that “as the Local Government Area covers approximately 3600 square kilometres, with several villages and a variety of lifestyle and community needs, nine councillors would better be able to represent those needs”.

It was estimated that the reduction – which was first proposed in 2015 as part of the Fit For The Future process imposed by the NSW Government as part of its drive for council amalgamations – would save a total of $26,000.

But that saving in a budget of almost $20 million “was not deemed to warrant any possible loss of representation”, Cr Sajowitz said.

Oberon’s nine councillors gives the community one councillor for every 580 residents, according to Cr Sajowitz. 

Among Oberon’s neighbours, Lithgow City Council has nine councillors for a population of around 21,000 (one councillor for every 2300 residents approximately) and Bathurst Regional Council has nine councillors for a population of around 42,000 (one councillor for every 4600 residents approximately).

Orange City Council has 12 councillors for a population of around 42,000 (one councillor for every 3500 residents approximately) and Blayney Shire Council has seven councillors for a population of around 7400 people (one councillor for every 1050 residents approximately).