Arriving to Council on Monday night 29/5, I was quietly …

Comment on Council rates draft: up 1.5% despite surplus by Eli Melky.

Arriving to Council on Monday night 29/5, I was quietly confident that I had worked hard enough and presented the facts to elected members as to why we should be able to keep the rate rise to 1.5%. Let me assure you this is much lower than what was being touted originally, and also paying out the loan on the civic centre was a smart thing to do. I have been asking for this over the past 6 years, after all Council has accumulated a large cash amount in reserves from consistent surpluses over the years and expecting another huge surplus again this year.
However to fall short of having a seconder to the motion to pay out the loan was surprising and a huge letdown. The reason given seemed to be focused on the small $17,000 alleged savings, it was not enough for them. The debate totally ignored the fact that paying out the loan means that we stop making monthly payments to the bank of $44,000 which is $528,000.00 a year. The Loan repayments are allocated for in the current budget for 16/17 and are factored into the next 17/18 , 18/19, 19/20 municipal plan proposed budget as presented Monday night.
What seemed lost on people was that the rate payer would no longer have to pay these repayments. Let me ask you Mr and Mrs rate payer, isn’t that a good thing? Apparently not, according to this lot. Apparently we are told by the Mayor that we are saving it for a rainy day. What does that mean exactly? A rainy day, is that when times are tough in the town, shops are empty, business is doing it tough, population growth is stagnant, Fed and NT Government funding reduced? Or when the town is being over run by unruly youth and breakins left right and centre, police helpless to do anything about it and a broken Justice system? Hmm…
Oh wait the other reason given was that the new bunch of elected members may waste the surplus and spend the money. Well well, now we are planning on the basis of a crystal ball approach. Pity that the crystal ball doesn’t show what a great and responsible bunch the new members may be, there is that slim chance you know.

I can tell you that today I will be reaching for my gum boots and umbrella, because I smell rain and lots of it. Might even build me an Ark.

Recent Comments by Eli Melky

Councillors: do we need Federal intervention on ‘crime wave’?
Alex Nelson, it’s one thing to recite history, it’s a whole other thing to write your future. I prefer the latter.

Arthur, giving up, locking themselves behind tall fences and quietly living out their days is Not living. We all deserve better.

What will the pages of history write about your contribution to this debate? I will leave you both to ponder.

Council: no interest in heritage; tiny leak from confidential
Evelyne and Mike, I feel I owe you an explanation as to why I chose not to put my hand up for the LGANT Heritage committee.
It was so as to avoid having to call a conflict of interest and leave the council chamber on issues relating to heritage as has been done many times by Damien in the past.
My view is that I can be far more useful if I remain in the chamber and part of the discussion.

Council backflip on Anzac Oval heritage
Yes it was a surprise to lose this motion given the support this issue had earlier enjoyed. However I feel obliged to respond to Mr. Nelson’s comment “It’s of interest to note that not once has any Councillor sought to consult with me on this matter, notwithstanding my primary role as the nominator (and principal researcher) for the heritage listing of Anzac Oval.”
Speaking on my behalf, the application by Mr. Nelson provided sufficient information and I was able to make a decision to support the application on that basis. I respect Mr. Nelson’s passion on the issue, however my support for this application to list for heritage ANZAC oval within lot 678, has never wavered. My position is consistent with supporting the action to save ANZAC oval from becoming the site to build the NAAG. I will continue to work with community to protect ANZAC oval.

Climate: Spreading the word across generations
It was a very pleasant evening at the last Wednesday nights Rotary Club Meeting. The young people presented and answered questions on a difficult issue that created a positive response from club members.
During 2019-20, Rotary International will host a series of presidential conferences around the world, focusing on Rotary’s relationship with the United Nations and the UN’s sustainable development goals that many Rotary service projects support.
The 2019 United Nations Climate Action Summit showcased new initiatives by governments, business and civil society to increase their commitments to achieve the goals of the Paris agreement and work toward reducing emissions to essentially zero by mid–century.
Locally the Rotary Club of Alice Springs is involved in many events around the town, one being the organisers of the Bangtail Muster.
The theme for the 2019 parade was oceans, which was widely embraced by the many pre-schoolers who participated in the parade.
In the past we have promoted themes of water and solar amongst many other themes that promote healthier sustainable living.
On another note, I am very pleased to let others know that the motion passed at last Monday night’s council meeting, which was to strengthen our climate action plan, introduced in 2018, as well as other master plans and action plans of council, has now been put in play.
The draft Public Arts Master Plan will soon be put out for public consultation, in which it will include as part of the plan’s guiding principles the following added point: Be environmentally conscious: be aware of the potential environmental impacts of public art.

Wards for Alice council, including one for town camps?
Thank you Alex Nelson, I wasn’t aware of that, although my suggestion to highlight five Wards didn’t specifically identify Rural. You can be assured they were not overlooked.
Given the discussion is in its early stage, I have not had the opportunity to outline in detail the proposal.
I will take this opportunity however to outline one specific detail regarding the Rural areas.
The Ward most likely to represent Rural area in my plan would be Araluen.
Councillors have 12 months to submit a proposal and it would be great to have all your opinions.
My main reason for increasing it back up to 10 Councillors is to ensure we have representation from residents of the Town Camps.
Some have already argued that it is insulting to the existing Councillors to have even suggested this proposal, indicating that the current eight have adequately represent all of Alice Springs including Town Camps.
To that individual elected member who made that statement, my response is, can you name five issues regarding town camps that have been raised by a councillor / alderman over the past 10 years?
I don’t believe it is insulting to have a discussion, particularly when you are requested to by the Elcectoral Commisssion or NT Government.
Moreover there is a growing concern that when more than two elected members are not able to attend council meeting for a variety of legitimate reasons, it becomes challenging.
Such was the case in the 12th Council when we were unable to find a quorum.
Most recently we have been reduced to a regular six in the chamber for the above mentioned reasons. Time to be inclusive.

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