Rates, roads and rubbish: Ren Lanzon
WE asked each candidates their views on the key roles of a council.
The answers have been published in the paper over the past few weeks, but below are Ren Lanzon's un-edited answers.
What do you think about the current state of the following council issues/services?
We all would love our rates reduced, but rates and services are inextricable. Council doesn't pocket rate money but spends it on services.
Rates can be reduced if services are cut. Those two are some of the biggest issues raised by ratepayers.
We are often asked to reduce rates and provide more services.
You can't do both. An effort made by this council to cut energy costs by solar paneling most of council's big roofs is a cost factor now that will benefit the region and our kids in the future.
It's visionary and visions come at a cost.
On at least two occasions I raised the question in council as to whether we should reinstitute the collection of bulk rubbish from the roadside.
Each time the answer came back, "yes, we could, but it will be at a cost". So the easy answer most people want to hear is "yes", and forget the rest.
Much had been achieved by the council in what have been hard times throughout Queensland and the country.
Our peak body, the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ), in its recent benchmark exercise, rated the Gladstone region's infrastructure for our class of council as amongst the highest in the state. Within its assessment of the 50,000 plus population category it placed our region at the very top.
Sixty per cent of our infrastructure is roadwork management. In the asset consumption ratio we also rate one of the highest. This means that not only do we have a high asset ratio but also that our assets are in good shape.
Can you describe the role of a councillor?
I liken the councillor's role to that of a jury - it is ordinary people in the community representing their fellows in the decision-making that will affect them.
The administration is conducted by the experts who are on tap to offer expert advice which is then put though the mill of community expectations.
The councillors' working circumstances may, and often does, present them with their own ideas or contributed ones which they can pursue with fellow councillors for discussion and further development.