Thursday 23 June 2016
Bega Valley and Eurobodalla Shire Councils are pushing into the future side by side, signing a Memorandum of Understanding that formalises a partnership that has been developing over the last two years.
The MoU signed by Bega Valley Mayor Michael Britten and Eurobodalla Mayor Lindsay Brown, is not a legal document but is the foundation of a partnership built on good faith and a desire to see the community better and more efficiently served.
Bega Valley Mayor Michael Britten said the intention is to strengthen a partnership that has been building over a number of years.
“We already have a strong history of sharing information and resources in a number of policy and frontline areas,” Cr Britten said.
Since 2013 the two councils have collaborated on works connected to aquatic centres and planning regulations and shared advice around domestic violence policy in the workplace.
During the NSW Government’s Fit for the Future process, both councils were deemed healthy and able to stand independently, where-as other councils were asked to consider merging as a way of meeting their communities future needs.
Eurobodalla Mayor Lindsay Brown said while both organisations have a strong, independent future it made common sense to share information and resources as a way of cementing long term financial sustainability.
“Together we will also be a strong advocate for the needs of our region,” Cr Brown said.
The MoU was signed at the new Bega Valley Commemorative Civic Centre in front of 70 students from the Sapphire Coast Anglican College in Bega.
The 10 point agreement points to six monthly reports by each General Manager and a decision making model built on consensus.
September’s Local Government election is an early example of the MoU at work, with the planning, implementation and cost of the ballot and induction programs being shared across both organisations.
Collaboration around the new council induction program for both new councils will also see the cost halved, saving ratepayers around $25,000.
Senior staff from both organisations commenced operational liaison and planning in 2015.
They will now scope a map of other potential strategic projects and meet quarterly to develop cooperative projects.
The next official meeting involving both councils is likely to be held later in 2016 following the Council elections.
Photograph: Mayor Michael Britten and Mayor Lindsay Brown shake hands after signing the MOU.