Tuesday night's Tamworth Regional Council meeting was a lively affair.
About 50 residents turned up to the Town Hall to oppose a proposed rate rise, which the council eventually approved in principle.
But what else was decided on the night?
Special Rate Variation (SRV) proposal - Approved
Tamworth Regional Council (TRC) is proposing a 36.3 per cent rate increase over two years, to help dig the region out of a financial hole.
Mark Rodda and Steve Mears were the only councillors who voted against the proposal.
Once it has received the application from council, due in February, IPART will launch its own three-week community consultation to determine if the council has done its homework and a decision will be made by May 2024.
If council's application is ultimately approved, the rate increase will come into effect on 1 July 2024.
Arcadia Estate traffic impacts on Rodeo Drive - Approved
Rodeo Drive residents will be disappointed to know that council has agreed to go ahead with plans to turn the now-cul-de-sac into a through road to cater for traffic from the new Arcadia Estate.
Arcadia Estate will eventually become home to thousands more residents and that means more traffic and increased safety concerns, say locals.
A report approved by councillors recommended the retention of the road connection from Arcadia Estate to Rodeo Drive.
But it included an amendment to investigate an active transport connection between Arcadia Estate and the Sports and Entertainment Precinct, in a bid to address concerns raised about the risk to pedestrians and cyclists.
Nearly as many locals attended the council meeting to protest the Rodeo Drive decision as there were to oppose the rate rise.
Regional renewable energy projects - Deferred
In September, TRC adopted a new policy outlining its approach to voluntary planning agreements with renewable energy developers.
On Tuesday night, councillors voted to defer consideration of an addition to the policy that would have added "provisions to the policy to provide for flexibility in Council's approach" in order to "attain the best outcome for the community".
The decision was deferred while council waits for the NSW Department of Planning and Environment to finish updating its Energy Policy Framework.
The department's framework relating to renewable energy developments is currently under review and is expected to finalise in early 2024.
As it stands TRC's current policy, which has also been adopted by several other councils across our region, requires all new renewable energy projects to provide a baseline payment of 1.5 per cent of the project's value to council for use in maintaining infrastructure.
Ownership of Dungowan Pipeline - Approved
With Stage 1 of the Dungowan Pipeline completed, Tamworth Council has voted to take over ownership of the infrastructure.
Stage 1 of the new pipeline construction is from the Calala Water Treatment Plant (CWTP) to the point where the Chaffey Dam Pipeline meets the existing Dungowan Pipeline near the Dungowan Recreation Ground.
The decision to transfer ownership to TRC has come after the state and federal governments pulled funding from the new Dungowan Dam earlier this year, limiting the pipeline's construction to just Stage 1.
Tamworth Council has previously said it would only accept ownership of the pipeline as a gift from the NSW government.
Taking ownership of the $53 million pipeline carries major financial implications for TRC for things like ongoing maintenance.
"Existing pipeline annual operation and maintenance costs are $250,000. It is expected the new pipeline, in conjunction with the remaining existing pipeline, will have similar annual operating costs," the report to council read.
Reflecting Tamworth's religious diversity - Deferred
He put a motion to council to replace the religious prayer said at the start of each council meeting with a statement of affirmation.
Across NSW, an estimated 44 per cent of local councils have already replaced their religious prayer with a statement of affirmation to enable the creation of a safe cultural space for the whole community.
Councillors voted to defer this decision and instead hold a workshop early in the new year to discuss options.
- The next and final meeting of Tamworth Regional Council for 2023 is being held on Tuesday, December 12.