Douglas Shire Council CEO (Mark Stoermer) attended the October DSRA Committee meeting. At the meeting Mark provided an update on the status of the review of the General Rate Category system. Mark advised that a consultant had been appointed to assist with the task and the Council’s objective was to have the review complete by the end of the financial year. The Committee sought assurance that the DSRA (who have been the driver of this project), will be consulted and engaged with during the review process. The Committee also sought assurance that a well over due Land Valuation review (not done for 4 years) will also be conducted. The DSRA had submitted a request for amendments to the Concealed Leak Policy and asked for an update on the status of this policy which is substandard compared to other Council policies of this kind. Mark reported that the introduction of “Smart Metres” is expected to have a significant impact in this area by providing ratepayers with early notification to households when significant increases in water usage are detected. While this is welcome news, the DSRA still has an expectation that the amendments put forward should be considered.
The status of the Shire’s economy was discussed, Mark put forward that the economic sustainability of the Shire is dependent on population growth. Mark reported that using the Ansoff Matrix model, Council has identified retirees and pre-retirees as a market the Shire should be aiming for. However, Mark was quick to point out that growth is dependent on infrastructure, most importantly water and waste management infrastructure. Council’s focus is to build this infrastructure as a matter of urgency. The Committee requested an up-date on the status of the DSC Economic Development Group. The Committee reiterated it’s view that an Economic Development Group should be convened as a matter of urgency and include all key stakeholder groups in the Shire.
An update on the status of the “RV Friendly” Shire was requested, Mark advised that this was being taken forward by the Economic Development Officers. It was acknowledged that potential revenue to the Mossman area in particular, will be significant as a result of this initiative.
The Committee expressed their appreciation to Mark for his time and the information provided.