Ground hog day vote

Council has voted not to hold a referendum on whether there should be a popularly elected mayor after the mayor Kristy McBain referred to it as "ground hog day" as the matter had been in front of current councillors three times.

The motion was put to council by Cr Mitchell Nadin who suggested that council withdraw its membership of Local Government NSW because it was "useless" to pay for the referendum.

Cr Nadin pointed to the online survey by Australian Community Media which had 553 votes and a total of 85 per cent in favour of choosing the mayor adding that it was consistent with several other polls taken within the last few years.

"I don't think we as nine people should make this decision. I think it should be up to the public to make this decision," Cr Nadin said adding that it was the last opportunity to do prior to the next election given that it would triple in cost if not part of the council election process.

But the mayor Kristy McBain asked Cr Nadin to withdraw his comments about Local Government NSW.

It should be up to councillors to choose, Cr McBain told council, saying Prime Ministers and Premiers were chosen by their colleagues. She said some people changed their views on the matter depending on whether it suited them at the time.

"I have never been in favour of this; I have no illusion that in 2020 the configuration of this chamber will change, that is the will of the community."

Cr McBain's trump card though was the cost.

"We recently received a quote from the electoral commission and costs have gone up 33 per cent from the 2016 election and rates have been capped at 7.8 per cent over the same period. And then we're asking council to budget $33,000 for the question (on whether to hold a vote) and every four years $100,000 into the future.to hold a mayoral election," Cr McBain said.

Cr Nadin had argued that there was little value in maintaining membership of Local Government NSW because of council's involvement in the Canberra Region Joint Organisation which he said was "a heck of a lot more relevant, a lot more effective than the Local Government NSW conference which he said was "a waste of time".

But Cr Jo Dodds disagreed. "As someone who had attended I would say that what you bring to it is what you get out of it. You're getting a very wide variety of views and issues that other councillors face and solutions," Cr Dodds said.

She also said that a decision on who should be mayor should rest with councillors. Cr Robyn Bain said it was a chance for the community to tell you what they wanted. For Cr Liz Seckold it was a case of deju vu, something she had seen raised several times before.

"I would hope we value honesty and integrity and someone who represents the whole shire," Cr Seckold said.

Local Government NSW got Cr Cathy Griff's vote but a popularly elected mayor didn't because she believed there had been mistakes made in some other areas.

"I don't think this is most important thing for ratepayers," Cr Griff said.

Cr Russell Fitzpatrick was for the idea of a popularly elected mayor but not for pulling out of Local Government NSW to fund the referendum, which he said was a separate issue.

Cr Nadin removed the amendment regarding Local Government NSW but the motion fell with Crs Fitzpatrick, Bain, Nadin and Allen voting in favour and Crs Griff, McBain, Seckold, Tapscott and Dodds against.

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