Councillor explains his absence from three meetings

A councillor for the Gosford West ward, which includes the Peninsula, has explained his absence from the July 27 council meeting after missing two previous meetings council meetings.
Cr Troy Marquart said he had expected to be at the meeting, but business commitments meant he had to send his apologies at the last minute.
He said he had caught up with all recent Council briefings after being on annual leave for two weeks and missing the ordinary meeting on July 13.
Cr Marquart said he returned in time for the extraordinary meeting on July 20 but a work-related emergency issue saw him miss that as he had to work through the night in order to satisfy new work-plan requirements because of Covid-19.
Cr Marquart said his business designed and installed sprung timber floor systems across NSW, the ACT and Queensland.
“I simply had to revise our Covid safe work continuation plan for projects in the ACT, which is a large and involved document,” he said.
“If it was not completed by 6.30 the following morning, we could not continue works on site.
“We would have lost a huge amount of money in coating material that had to go down today and all our employees would have been turned away from site and without work.”
Cr Marquart said a time-poor small business owner would always miss briefings but the council systems ensured all relevant information was supplied so councillors had the opportunity to represent like-minded residents.
He said he always caught up at length on any briefings or meeting information through the Councillor Hub and conversations with colleagues.
He said he had spent time on location at Wamberal on the Sunday before the emergency meeting and had held lengthy conversations with colleagues about the issue.
Had Cr Marquart attended the July 27 meeting, his vote may have defeated the council’s Operational Plan for the coming year.
In the event, mayor Cr Lisa Matthews used her casting vote to pass the plan.
Cr Marquart said in a media statement that he would have voted against it.
“While it may be a hypothetical statement (now), I am happy to confirm that I would have voted against the budget,” Cr Marquart said.
“The Central Coast Council operational costs are extreme and flabby around the mid-drift in my opinion.
“the operation has become addicted to spending ratepayers’ money and sensible cost savings or productivity advancements are as rare as hens’ teeth,” he added.
“My opinion is that we should have tightened the fiscal belt, as normal businesses and households have been forced to do during Covid lock downs.
“I also do not agree with the small savings list that was provided in the report.
“After the worst bushfires in decades, the accepted budget has slashed investment in bushfire reduction works while tripling the ratepaying dollar spend in solar panels, during a pandemic.
“Madness in my opinion and God help us next fire season,” he said.

Media statements, 21 and 30 Jul 2020
Cr Troy Marquart, Central Coast Council