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President's Column - Issue 3 2016

Created on: Tuesday, 8 March 2016 at 9:31:51 AM

President’s Column

Cr Ian West, JP                                                                  Issue 3 4 March 2016

February 23 saw our first Ordinary Council meeting for 2016 with a very full agenda.

One item was a change to the basis of rates for properties within the Racecourse Estate, Springfield, Industrial area and Brand Highway from an unimproved value to a gross rental value to better reflect their predominate use. Council officers undertook both desktop reviews and consultation with the owners of the 179 properties affected giving them 28 days to respond. Based on the responses received Council moved to apply to the Minister for Local Government and Communities to change the basis of rating for these properties.

I am pleased to announce that the Dongara Playgroup, the Dongara Irwin Race Club and the Autumn Craft Round Up Committee were the successful applicants for funding through round two of the Community Assistance Scheme.

Just a reminder that the Community Assistance Scheme conducts two rounds of funding annually and is open to all community groups to assist in their activities. Rounds open in August and November each year so contact Coralie at the Shire for further information.

As advertised in the Rag, my initiative to take the Council out to the community will kick off at Irwin on March 11 with meetings planned at other localities during the year. These present an opportunity for residents to meet Councillors and speak on issues that concern them in a casual environment away from the formality of Council meetings.

In early 2015 the Shire of Irwin agreed to participate in the Better Practise Review Program which was an initiative of the Dept. of Local Government & Communities to recognise and promote good practise in WA country local governments. This review captured information on the Shire's activities and practises in the areas of Governance, Planning and Regulatory functions, Assets and Finance, Workforce Planning and HR Management and Community Consultation. Based on a check list and an on-site assessment a report was prepared outlining Shire performance in each of these areas. It was pleasing to receive a letter of from the Minister for Local Government, Tony Simpson congratulating Council and Staff for the level that our organisation is achieving. Although performing excellent in most areas there are areas we can improve in and the Action Plan developed will assist Council to address this.

With regards to the proposed fluoridation of the Dongara water supply, I wrote to the Minister for Health on the 17 February requesting an assurance to the local community that this will not occur prior to and subject to the community information sessions in an effort to promote an open and transparent stakeholder engagement process. As at the time of writing I haven't received a reply.

The next few months will be a busy time for Councillors and Staff with the review of the current Budget and Corporate Business Plan together with ongoing meetings of the committees tasked with looking at a number of important future community infrastructure projects.

Cr Ian West, JP 
Shire President

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