May 13, 2021
southburnett.com.au invited Mayor Brett Otto to respond to criticism made on Monday by former South Burnett mayor Keith Campbell.
Mayor Otto released the following media statement on Thursday morning:
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“I welcome the opportunity to respond to the article entitled “Ex-Mayor: Hard Decisions Ahead” based on statements by former mayor Keith Campbell.
“The zero rate rise last year delivered under my leadership was the responsible and compassionate thing to do.
“Rate hikes, closing down community assets such as halls, swimming pools and libraries and spending less on roads does not cut the mustard.
“This is not bold leadership. All this does it take our region backwards. It’s only by being bold that you get anywhere.
“Never before has a mayor had to deal with a global pandemic on top of one of the worst droughts in history, so, yes, it was a bold and historic decision.
“I will never apologise for easing the burden on struggling families, pensioners and farmers during a generational crisis.
“As an accountant, no one understands the importance of fixing the Budget more than me. That’s why I worked to deliver $1.4 million of savings in last year’s Budget. This is exactly what the people elected me to do.
“There’s more work to be done to get Council out of deficit and that is what I intend to do.
“There will be no stone left unturned in finding efficiencies across Council.
“After just one year into our term, we are already actioning measures to deal with long-standing Budget problems, including:
- A study into rating categories to create improved equity in Council rates
- A review of asset management plans as to priorities for buildings and parks and gardens
- A review of Council’s motor vehicle fleet, and
- Further roads and building assets valuation reviews.
“I am 100 per cent determined to make this Council financially sustainable and need every one of the Council team to work with me.
“We need to get this right. Our region’s future depends on it.”
- Related article: Ex-Mayor: Hard Decisions Ahead