Rates, roads and rubbish: Rick Hansen
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 Rick Hansen's un-edited answers.
What do you think about the current state of the following council issues/services?
Being aware of the cost pressures placed on the community in the current economic environment when developing the 2014/2015 budget Council reduced operational costs by $4.1 million and Capital costs by $23 million, keeping the average general rate at a - 0.4% decrease compared to 2013/2014.
Water, sewerage and waste fees increased to get to a full cost recovery level, while equalising the costs for these
services across the region.
Council needs to seek more rating restraint by further examining service levels and improving efficiencies in governance, systems and policies continuing to build value for money for the rate payer.
Council since amalgamation has moved to consolidate waste transfer stations to reduce substantial costs while providing a two bin service to most residents in the region.
These costs are averaged out with all users across the region charged the same irrespective of their distance from the landfill.
The Benaraby landfill has the capacity to receive waste for the next 50 years. The recovery of landfill methane gas across the site will create supplementary power generation, saving costs.
Council still needs to expand its waste education, recycling and organic waste capability ultimately saving space and future landfill capacity costs.
Roads in the region are maintained according to a road hierarchy asset system. There are nine levels of standards ranging from a highway standard to a track serving one or two properties.
They are assessed matching their usage and maintained at different frequencies according to their level.
Overall I believe our sealed road network is well maintained and maintenance systems mainly keep this network in order. Our gravel road network has many roads being maintained at different frequencies and standards.
If damage occurs out of maintenance sequence, repairs will be scheduled in as necessary and every attempt is made to complete in a timely manner.
Can you describe the role of a councillor?
A Councillor's role is to represent the people in governing the region as part of a team to manage the business of Council.
A Councillor has to: Set strategic direction and policy
Be a community leader, listening to issues and concerns.
Be accessible to the people
Represent the region's interest
Make decisions based on the views of the majority and then stand by those decisions
Advocate with the state and federal government
This position requires a full time commitment from the successful candidates and to be available to be involved in all Council activities.