Dan Stewart says the council’s financial situation and the pandemic make finances a challenge.
Dan Stewart says the council’s financial situation and the pandemic make finances a challenge.

Stewart: Council has no spare cash

MORE frequent meetings, and the return of general business and other changes to standing orders are likely in the cards for the new council according to returning councillor Dan Stewart.

The Division 5 councillor pointed to these changes in a post on his Dan 4 Gympie Facebook page following the first meeting of the new council yesterday.

MORE GYMPIE NEWS

A decision on meeting more often will still have to wait until after the budget.

And as the new holder of the council’s finance and risk portfolio (alongside Bruce Devereaux thanks to a new joint-holding system), he said the situation was different than any of the previous four years.

Bruce Devereaux.
Bruce Devereaux.

“This will be quite some challenge given finances are tighter than what they were four years ago,” Mr Stewart said.

“There is no spare cash.

“This is compounded by the pandemic.”

“Bruce and I will be meeting with relevant staff on Monday to be briefed on what council’s financial situation is and on where staff are at with the proposed budget.”

The return of general business is expected to be debated next month.

Bob Fredman, Dolly Jensen, Shane Waldock, Jess Milne, Bruce Devereaux, Mayor Glen Hartwig, Warren Polley, Deputy Mayor Hilary Smerdon and Dan Stewart after their first meeting as Gympie Regional Council.
Bob Fredman, Dolly Jensen, Shane Waldock, Jess Milne, Bruce Devereaux, Mayor Glen Hartwig, Warren Polley, Deputy Mayor Hilary Smerdon and Dan Stewart after their first meeting as Gympie Regional Council.

“I had already asked that consideration of the standing orders be made at the workshop in May to discuss this further,” Mr Stewart said,

“There are other changes I think could be made to the standing orders.

“Again, best to take a little time to get it right

Mr Stewart said he was “pleased” with the choice of Hilary Smerdon as deputy mayor.