One of the items of business at the inaugural meeting the MidCoast Council was when and where to hold future council meetings.
The regular meetings are as follows:
- Monthly ordinary council meeting to take place the fourth Wednesday of each month at 2pm in the Taree administration centre
- Monthly strategic committee meeting to be held on the second Wednesday of each month in the Forster administration centre
The meetings in December will each be held one week early. As council doesn’t meet in January, four months worth of meetings have been locked in, with February’s location locked in before the break.
Councillors also noted that in 2018 there will be two ordinary council meetings held in Gloucester and two strategic committee meetings held in Gloucester. The dates for these will be determined at the December meeting with the schedule for 2018.
What is an ordinary council meeting?
It is a regular meeting of council that follows a pre-set agenda which covers items in the business papers. The business papers contain matters that need to be approved by council in order to proceed; things like, large expense projects and reports from individual committees.
The meeting covers off on all the items and gives the councillors the chance to ask questions and make amendments before approving. There is also time within the meeting for any member of the community to register for the chance to ask questions of the council. These meetings are open to the public.
The reason MidCoast Council has adopted to hold the first few meetings in the Taree is partly due to the size of the chambers and partly due to the fact that it is already set up for recording.
The meetings will be recorded by the 2BOB community radio station 104.7FM and played on air, allowing the meeting to be available to all residents and to provide transparency of what happens in the meetings.
What is a strategic committee meeting?
This meeting is more of a workshop where councillors have the chance to discuss ideas and issues in a more relaxed forum. Directors and councillors can have an open and informal discussion about matters prior to an ordinary meeting.
These meetings will also be open to the public, which is something new across all the former council areas, there will be an agenda and will be a meeting where council decisions can be made.
By allowing these discussions to take place in this environment, with the public invited to take part, the hope is that most of the issues can be addressed before the item is added to the business papers.
There is a business paper being presented at this week’s meeting (Wednesday, October 25) to discuss the strategic committee meetings that gives more of an overview.
What does this mean for Gloucester?
Prior to the merger Gloucester had regular council meetings; with this new set up, that won't occur, however, council has indicated that this new schedule is not forever and is to merely cover the next few months until there can be a better arrangement.
The schedule for 2018 meetings, beyond February 2018, will be determined in the ordinary council meeting on December 20.
What does this mean for residents?
If you have a matter you would like to discuss with council you can by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, via the website http://www.midcoast.nsw.gov.au/Home, Facebook in person or by calling your local office.
The council staff with work toward getting you in contact with the right person in the right department who can help you with the enquiry.
As the council is now spread across multiple buildings around the region, the person you may need to deal with may not be near you, however this should not hinder the council in its ability to assist you.