Push to trim Geraldton council

Ellie HoneyboneGeraldton Guardian

The City of Greater Geraldton has been holding informal talks about reducing councillor numbers in a bid to ease pressure on its budget.

The council is made up of 14 councillors who represent seven wards across Geraldton for four-year terms.

Mayor Shane Van Styn said he hoped to have some formal discussions about the issue at the next council meeting on March 28.

“The City hopes to approach the new minister for local government and request the next set of councillor terms be for two-year periods instead of four,” he said.

That way all councillor positions will be expired by 2019 and prior to that we can conduct a full review of wards and council reduction options.”

Councillor representation from Mullewa could be set to change if councillor numbers are reduced.

After the amalgamation of the City of Geraldton-Greenough and the Shire of Mullewa in 2011, a memorandum of understanding was issued.

Because the MOU expires in 2019, the City organised a Mullewa Services Summit last year in a bid to identify possible options for representation of the Mullewa community.

“Reducing council numbers is not something that can be done quickly — it is a lengthy, statutory process,” Mr Van Styn said.

“We could not get the ball rolling in time for the 2017 elections, so we now look towards 2019.

“There has already been a re-duction in staff numbers at the City, so it seems only reasonable to look to reduce council as well.

“The community will be consulted before any decisions are made.”

Mr Van Styn said it was always a requirement that the City review all of the wards by 2019, and the staff were just making sure they conducted all processes ahead of time.

“Should council agree to go ahead with a ward review process, it would commence in early 2018,” he said.

“A reduction in numbers would certainly save ratepayers’ money.”

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