IN the February Community Newsletter, the mayor says: "I am always available to meet with residents should they have concerns. With so much misinformation out there it is sensible to come in and discuss issues personally before forming your opinion ..."
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From reading contributions to the Oberon Review by the mayor and one or two of her more avid supporters, this warning of fake news must refer mainly to communications from Mr Hardy Draheim and by implication to the newly formed Ratepayers and Residents Association (OSR and RA) of which he is the president.
Communication frequency and volume of Oberon Council and the mayor is plentiful - weekly in Oberon Review; on council's website; monthly Community Newsletter; council meetings with regular reportage in Oberon Review - and audio recordings.
Add public appearances by the mayor at every event and photo opportunity going in town - plus council initiated public meetings frequently providing another platform for more "positive" council news.
Still she is worried about dissenting voices.
Perhaps she should look at the quality and credibility of her own messages: continuous self-praise and credit-taking with never an admission of failure tend to destroy credibility.
People are not dumb. Many of us know council needs to smarten up its act, whether it comes to excessive local rates, waste of ratepayer funds, poor planning, poor decision making, poor execution, etc.
It is better if the council were to refute this alleged mis-information with documented fact and reasoned arguments, the veracity of which then could be shared with and considered by all of us.
OSR and RA encourages ratepayers and residents going to the mayor and asking her questions.
And for them sharing the questions and answers with the rest of the community so we all can be informed about what is considered the mayoral received opinion of the day.
To help the process, here's just a couple of questions where we have been unable to obtain sensible answers from council.
Question: In 2015 the council said it was so poor it could not maintain existing service levels unless awarded an annual rate increase of 10 per cent; a five per cent increase would not do it. Council - based on a survey of only 300 with 201 saying yes; less than 10 per cent of the ratepayers - then imposed a 39.4 per cent rate increase over five years to 2020.
In 2017 it voted to spend $50,000 on doing up the mayor's office, to "celebrate Oberon's prosperity". What factors changed the situation from one where current services could not be maintained to one where funds could be wasted on interior decorations and sound proofing the next financial year?
Question: In 2019 the council reported the Hathaway Cottage was sold for $708,000; two months later the council allocated $600,000 to the new aged care units in Curtis Street.
What happened to the difference of $108,000? What were those funds used for?
These questions are only two of many unresolved matters being pursued by the association. Please join us on Facebook at Oberon Shire Residents & Ratepayers Association Inc or email us at email@example.com
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