CLONCURRY Shire mayor Greg Campbell must have been exhausted after the two hour community meeting on Wednesday evening.
The bulk of questions asked from among the 100 attendees in the community precinct were directed at the mayor, even after he hinted several times that other councillors could take questions as well.
Community meetings in the region, whether from mining companies or councils, generally bring an awkward silence when the audience is asked if they had questions. But on Wednesday night they did not stop.
Questions involved mail box issues, weeds, increased numbers of mosquitoes, missing headstones from the cemetery, a town common for horses, and the suggestion of capitalising on trucks bypassing the town.
Council employees clearly did not expect so many members of the community to attend, judging from the number of chairs they set up after the tables began to fill.
The panel of councillors and executives at the front of the room formally introduced themselves to the room. The only councillor absent was Vicki Campbell, who was in Townsville for medical reasons.
If this meeting was held eight months ago the faces on the panel would almost have been completely different, not only with the councillors but the executive positions as well.
This included chief executive Ben Milligan, a former George Fisher manager, who started his role in council on Tuesday, October 4, having filled the position left behind by David Neeves’ resignation.
Mr Milligan introduced new director Joanne Morris and acting director Ken Palmer, as well as the familiar community development manager Karen Grimm.
Councillor Campbell said the council worked with a budget of more than $59 million, and relied on rates, grants, and fees and charges to operate a council with more than 100 employees.
“We have plans in place to ensure the day to day operations in council don’t get left behind," Cr Campbell said.
Key projects the council was working on included the $24 million flood damage program, scheduled for completion on June 2017.
95 per cent of the work will be given to local contractors.
The Cloncurry to Dajarra road would also be sealed, and will cost $1.7 million. It is scheduled for completion on December 23.
Cr Campbell said it means there would only be 15 kilometres of dirt road remaining to travel to and from Incitec Pivot’s Phosphate Hill site.