Tempers flared at Cumberland Council last week.
Administrator Viv May called an extraordinary meeting for the proposed outsourcing of waste services. The agenda wasn’t made public until 48 hours prior.
After a hour long public forum and questions to council staff, Mr May adopted to proceed with a tender for domestic kerbside collection of waste, recyclables, garden organics, dumped rubbish and clean up services.
“For residents I speak to, dumped rubbish is a big issue,” Mr May told the gallery.
“They’re entitled to have dumped rubbish removed within one working day of reporting it.”
It sparked protests from the packed public gallery.
“It’s not your community! It’s ours,” former Holroyd mayor John Perry called out.
Status quo is not an option.
The council inherited three waste services from the former Auburn, Holroyd and Parramatta councils.
Savings were initially estimated to be $16 million but after Mr May’s questioning, it was revealed savings are more likely to be $19 million over the next seven years.
The figure doesn’t include more than $10 million sitting in a waste reserve to returned to the community.
Former Holroyd residents will get a green bin under the proposed plan.
Mr May hopes the new service will start before he leaves in September to make way for the new elected council. “It won’t go ahead if it isn’t cost effective,” he told media afterwards.
“Regardless what happens, there will be changes.”
Households will be surveyed about preferred collection times after Mr May saw complaints on the Sun’s Facebook page about 4am garbage pick-ups.
He assured affected staff who want a job with the council will be able to stay.
Greens MP David Shoebridge, union representatives and former councillors fired up the crowd at a public rally before the meeting.
Speakers questioned why services had to be outsourced after a recent council customer satisfaction survey revealed that household garbage collection was ranked highest. Opportunity to be part of council decision making received the fourth lowest ranking from customers.
“I’ve worked in this community for 20 years and I’m devastated about what’s happening,” Mr Perry said.
“We need to walk in there and escort Mr May out. This community needs to take their city back!”
Former Parramatta lord mayor Paul Garrard added:
“The area is filthy from one end to the other. But I don’t blame the workers. I blame management.”