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Orange councillors back lights for pathway, Lucknow 50km/h zone; vote themselves 3 percent pay rise

June 20, 2023

The yellow arrows show the pathway. Google Earth.

By David Fitzsimons

Orange councillors have voted themselves a 3 percent pay rise to the maximum level allowed under government regulations.

All councillors will now receive $26,070 a year while mayor Jason Hamling will receive an extra mayoral allowance of $64,390 (for a total of $90,460).

Councillor Mel McDonell told Tuesday night’s meeting councillors deserved a pay rise at a time when costs were rising.

“We work bloody hard for that money,” she said.

Councillor David Mallard said adequately compensating councillors for their work would help encourage diversity in election candidates.

“If we want to give opportunity for anyone who cares about their community to stand for local government then there needs to be adequate remuneration otherwise it’s going to be a game for rich people, largely blokes, quite often people who have interests in decisions local government makes,” he said.

There was some opposition to the pay rise. Councillor Steve Peterson argued it should stay at the current level in tough financial times.

“I appreciate 3 percent is not lot of money in the scheme of things, but just because we can increase our wages doesn’t mean we should,” he said.

“Personally refusing a pay increase is a good way to demonstrate our personal - not just theoretical - commitment to financial stewardship in uncertain economic times.”

Mayor Jason Hamling said councillors worked hard and deserved the pay rise.

“Don’t put down what you do,” he said.

Hamling said he met a mayor from Western Australia last week at a conference in Canberra who was paid $160,000 a year.

Councillors Frances Kinghorne and Glenn Floyd were against the pay rise.

The pay increase was part of a $218 million budget for the next financial year approved by council.

Wirrabarra Walk will have some light at night. Supplied.

Meanwhile council voted to install lighting along the Wirrabarra Walk, near the Duntryleague golf course, despite some adjacent residents opposing it with concerns including fears of crime risks.

However, several councillors said the lighting would improve safety on the path.

Under the plan one-metre-high bollard-style solar lighting, to be paid for by state government funding, would be available for four hours in winter and two hours in summer, up to about 9pm.

The entry to Lucknow from the Orange side. Supplied.

And council has supported cutting the speed limit on the Mitchell Highway through Lucknow from 60km/h to 50 km/h after concerns were raised by local residents about the dangers of crossing the road amid traffic.

However Councillor Jeff Whitton said he expected the request would be knocked back by the state government because it was a highway with heavy use by trucks.

He pointed to a 60km/h limit in Bathurst.

Whitton said they might have to consider an overhead bridge for people to cross the road.

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