PROVING old wounds can be healed, Uralla Shire Council has joined the New England Joint Organisation.
Six votes to three, mayor Michael Pearce voted against New England.
“You have to remember we’re going to be the smallest council in the New England JO,” Cr Pearce said.
“Are we going to have a voice? Who knows.”
All were wary that the joint organisation was not an amalgamation by stealth.
Councillor Levi Sampson voted in favour of joining the New England JO and said it was an opportunity to mend bridges.
“We have a platform that is essentially fresh north and we come in as equal, we could restore the ties that were severed with Armidale all these years by saying, “We’re here to play ball”.”
Uralla will remain a member of the Namoi JO until the end of June.
Cr Robert Bell thinks joining New England JO is a way to “manage Armidale’s thinking”, as long as it’s not amalgamation by stealth. Mayor Michael Pearce makes it clear we aren’t using the “amalgamation” or “merger” words, just forming a group. #Uralla#Council@ARC2350— Madeline Link (@madeline_link) February 13, 2018
And, Cr Pearce is still set to buckle up for the China investment trip with six of the Namoi Unlimited councils in March.
Namoi Unlimited chair Andrew Hope said there may be financial impacts, Uralla Shire Council pays $33,000 to be a member.
“We’re still funded until the end of the financial year, initially it will be business as usual but once the final membership works out there may be some financial impacts,” he said.
“But, we wish New England really well, Cr Pearce has been a great asset and we are looking forward to working hand-in-hand with the New England JO.
“Cr Pearce will take with him his experience and that’s their win, someone who’s already done it on their board.”
Namoi still hopes to take Uralla on as an affiliate member.
It means they will have no voting rights, but will be able to work collaboratively with those councils.