OUR SAY: Easy to see the cost-benefits of culling councillors

LIKE most big business operators, councils all over NSW are looking at cutting costs any way they can.

Wellington Council will decide this week if it will reduce the number of councillors from nine to seven.

Orange City Council councillors are also looking at reducing councillor numbers from 12 to nine, seeing it as easy way to reduce operating costs by $52,470 per annum.

While the savings will be relatively small, it will show that council, like other big businesses in town, is not afraid to make hard decisions in the name of austerity.

However, it’s not all about the bottom line.

Cr Neil Jones said the cost saving would be insignificant for a budget the size of Orange’s but thought an odd number of councillors would be better to reduce the current need for a mayoral casting vote when the vote was split six-all.

Cr Reg Kidd thinks 12 councillors can become unruly while Cr Glenn Taylor said nine would be ideal considering the current size of the local government area.

Of course not all councillors are sold on the merits of reducing the number of councillors.

STORY: DOING SOME SUMS ON COUNCILLOR NUMBERS

Cr Russell Turner said 12 was a good number especially if councillors miss a meeting or declare an interest.

Despite their mixed opinions, if councillors do eventually vote to reduce their number, Orange residents will be given an opportunity to make their feelings known before the Minister for Local Government Paul Toole is given the final right of approval. 

While opinions are mixed on the merit of reducing the number of councillors, there are cost savings to be had and in these tough economic times any talk of budgetary restraint is worth having.

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