Club Cowra

Cowra Mayor Bill West Reflects On First 18 Months Of New Council

Written by: The Cowra Phoenix


Cowra Mayor Bill West has labelled the current Cowra Council as “supportive”, saying it has made “great achievements” 18 months after it was first elected.

Mr West said the Council, of which around half of it was made up of new Councillors, came in at a difficult time, with Cowra Council’s Operational Plan, which is Council’s budget the first task that was needed to be completed within a very short time frame.

Mr West said all councillors engaged in healthy and productive debate but had largely been supportive of many local issues since then, including advocating for the new Cowra Hospital, a 24 hour police station, establishing the CBD Working Party, and Council’s Reconciliation Action Plan.

“There’s been a number of things that they’ve [Councillors] initiated and they’re keen to continue to work with, so it’s been a very enjoyable time to work with the new Council,” he said.

“It’s a council that represents our community very well.”

With rising operational costs due to inflation, Mr West conceded there would be necessary rates increase of 3.9% in the new financial year.

“It’s important that we keep pace with inflation. People need to understand that if we don’t keep up pace, Council is going to struggle as an organisation to operate as a business,” Mr West said. “We’ve got cultural facilities like the Civic Centre, sporting fields, parks and gardens, waste, sewer, cemetery, sale yards, roads; there’s a myriad of things that Council does that affects everyday life to keep the wheels turning.”

Since last year’s flooding local roads has been one of the most topical issues, with the weather significantly damaging local roads.

Cowra Council received $2,319,288 in funding from the NSW Government earlier this year, and Mr West said Council was part of the way through spending the money and completing local road repairs.

“The main issue is there’s not a lot of capacity in the workforce. Council has a limited workforce, and the contractors are in high demand because every council received the same amount of money,” he said.

“We’re working our way through all of the maintenance and repairs on our rural roads, our streets and so forth, but it could take 12 to 18 months, maybe even 2 years to get through them all, so I just ask people to be patient, he said.” Mr West asked residents to report any safety concerns or traffic hazards on local roads directly to Cowra Council.

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