Candidate has ear to the ground in Stanthorpe
STANTHORPE and the Central Hotel’s Melissa Harris will run for council in the upcoming elections.
She has lived in the town for 17 years and raised a family there.
“The reason that I have decided to run for council is because I feel that, in this day and age, we need more caring in government and I feel this really needs to start with local government,” she said.
Ms Harris said she had her ear to the ground of the community.
“During my working week, I talk to many people about many different things and in the last couple of years, I have found that more and more people are dissatisfied with local government,” she said.
“It is no secret how dissatisfied residents are with our ever- increasing rates and I feel that in 2016 there must be other ways of raising revenue and the community should be more involved with this process.”
She has called for greater transparency in council.
“Currently we are in a situation of tens of millions of dollars of debt that our current council has constantly asked residents to contribute to paying down through our rates,” she said.
“We need to make council more transparent and we need to make council have more open and honest discussions with our community.
“This is where I believe my strengths lie. I feel that I have the ability to ask the left of field questions and would be a thorn in the side of narrow-minded thinking.”
Ms Harris said the community had spoken and it was time for change. “I’m the same as every other person living in this shire, just wanting answers and wanting change,” she said.
“We are in a situation where residents can’t be left in the dark with council matters any longer.
“Just recently we had a figure of the average income published for our shire – $28,800. With our rates that means nearly 10% of a person’s annual income. How are pensioners going to cope?”
She said the current direction of council was not sustainable.
“It’s 2016. It’s time for thinking outside the square,” she said.
“People are talking more and more about local government. It’s time that council started to listen and get involved with the residents. It’s time local government reconnected with the community.”