This week we celebrate the pivotal role councils have in local communities across New South Wales. There is much to celebrate.
Kempsey Shire Council is one of 128 councils in New South Wales.
Councils are sometimes referred to the third level of government but for local communities they should be considered the first level of government.
Councils in NSW have income of about four per cent of all tax income but provide 24 per cent of the services to people.
Our local council is wholly within the lands of the Dunghutti people, who have been here for many thousands of years.
Kempsey Shire covers 3381 square kilometres - with more than 1200 kilometres of roads. It welcomes 400,000 visitors each year and has over 30,000 residents.
Our council is not a business but is a service provider to the residents. It operates according to the Local Government Act of 1993.
Council consists of a staff of over 300 and is governed by the decisions of the elected councillors and with the leadership of the General Manager.
Some of the services council provides you will be very familiar.
We hear a lot about waste, water and roads but there are also other vital services like food safety, libraries, sports fields, cemeteries, pets, pools and customer service.
There are nine councillors (including the Mayor) who meet every month and consider a multitude of issues that require decisions to make future plans. Usually, these councillors are elected every four years (but not recently!).
There are some common misconceptions about councils.
Council is not in charge of crime prevention (the police are), mental health and health care (NSW Health Department is) and not all roads.
We should all reflect and see the importance of our local council.
All of us should make an individual effort to contribute in even small ways to make Kempsey Council the best it can be. If you know someone who works for our council, make time this the week to say thank you and let them know you sincerely appreciate their work for our Kempsey Shire Community.
My condolences to Ann Woodger, the family and friends of John Woodger, retired principal of West Kempsey Public School.
Mr Woodger was 89 when he died last week. He was an educational leader and an inspiration to all (including me) who met him.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.