Ahead of the September local government elections the Young Witness hopes to run a series of articles on the Hilltops Council's current councillors. We have sent a list of questions, featured below, to each of the 11 Hilltops councillors.
For this edition, with Cr John Horton, we have used a question and answer format. We hope to feature more articles like this with our other local government representatives over the coming months.
At this stage, do you intend standing for re-election?
As I write it is my intention to put my name forward as a candidate at the appropriate time.
How long have you been on council?
I have been a councillor for eight years including two years as mayor. Currently I am one of 11 Hilltops councillors and my past experiences allow me to make well informed decisions.
What has been your biggest challenge as a local government representative?
I am often asked what has been my biggest challenge and my answer is always, there are many big challenges at different times.
Ensuring good roads, plenty of fresh water, reliable home sewerage facilities and safe removal of waste is a given. The smooth merger of three former councils and ensuring that the 19,000 Hilltops residents are all given a fair go, is always one of my top priorities.
As in any household or business finances must take top priority. Now that we have secured a top flight general manager in Anthony O'Reilly, whose financial credentials and experiences are second to none, I am very confident that during the next Hilltops council term our financial position shall be on a very sound footing indeed.
It goes without saying coronavirus was a big challenge for all residents and made things very difficult for council to operate in a normal manner. I believe big challenges for the next council shall be to ensure action, accountability, urgency, and superior customer service is the best possible.
How do we encourage more women to stand? And what needs to be done to encourage residents aged 18 to 40 years of age to stand?
In the forthcoming election we should encourage more women to nominate and have more candidates in the 18 to 40 age bracket. This would give council a new look, a broad spectrum of people's representatives, resulting in targeting all residents concerns and acting upon them. I encourage any young person, both female and male to attend council meetings if they are considering running for council. The monthly council ordinary meeting is held on the fourth Wednesday of each month, this experience would go a long way for you to understand content and proceedings.
If any young person has concerns or questions, may I suggest you speak to a councillor who would be willing to assist. I am happy to help anytime, simply phone - 0419204364 - in addition there shall be meetings for the public to attend and to learn about being a councillor. Watch the local paper for dates and venue.
What are the rewards of being a local government representative?
The rewards of being a councillor are many. The following are only a few:
- I derive satisfaction by helping residents with their problems to a happy conclusion.
- Observing the many improvements through Hilltops as they occur.
- Following the good progress of the successful Hilltops merger.
- Working as a team for the betterment of our beautiful Hilltops.
- Having the opportunity to give something back to our community.
- It is so rewarding to be part of a team and to watch the Hilltops grow and prosper.
- The opportunity to make many new friends.
- You are given the opportunity to grow, discover new experiences and appreciate just how big the total council operation is.
- You learn to appreciate why some things are not done. It is usually lack of money.
What will be the biggest challenge, in your opinion, for the next council?
The next Hilltops council shall have many challenges some unexpected, however in my view they shall be something like this:
Better roads, improved water supply, improved sewerage services and fair waste removal services for all Hilltops residents. Attracting the best staff to replace those who have left or intend leaving, getting finances into the black. Build on the already successful merger, council working as a professional team and giving all residents a fair go.
I believe to be a good councillor you must be there for the right reason, be fair dinkum, attend all meetings in a timely manner (I normally attend approximately 15 meetings a month, most are not mandatory) and contribute as appropriate, work as a good team member and help residents and organisations as required.
Keep up with new trends, read all appropriate reading material, attend training courses as required, meet deadlines with reports and give full support to fellow councillors, management and council staff. To do the above professionally you must be skilled in time management and have available time in your life to fulfil your commitment to council and to our community.
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