Alexandrina councillor Jim Davis dropped a bombshell at council’s October 16 meeting by declaring he would not stand for re-election in the 2018 local government elections.
It was a bombshell because Jim has been part of the council furniture for 15 years, or four terms, and at the 2014 elections the Goolwa ward councillor polled more votes than any other elected member at Alexandrina Council.
“I have said for a while it would be my last term,” Jim said.
Jim came from a small business background and during his terms on council has worked feverishly to monitor council spending and debt.
“I am concerned on the continued growth in council borrowings as our debt keeps rising. It is projected to be nearly $44 million by 2019 and I am personally disappointed with this,” Jim said.
“Elected members buckle too much to groups wanting money. We are a business and it does not sit well with me that I will leave council with this amount of debt. The continued growth in staff numbers is too much, as the wage bill of council is $14 million. Elected members have the power to do so much and as an elected member the worst thing you can do, is nothing.”
Jim is a man of his convictions and never takes a backward step when it comes to giving his opinion.
“We should not be on council to be popular as sometimes you have to upset people. I stand up for what I feel is right and there have been times I have been wrong, I say sorry and move on,” he said.
Jim reflected on some challenges council faced in his tenure and said the 2005 rating review was a low point.
“We had 1400 responses to the rating review and there was genuine community concern in the inequity of our rating. There was a 17 per cent discount for rural properties and the message from the review was most wanted council to work toward one rate in the dollar for all,” Jim said.
“It should be fair right across the board, but the powerful rural lobby knocked down any chance for that to occur. It’s my single disappointment.”
After his final council term is complete, Jim looks forward to spending more time with wife Nanette and doing some travelling.
“Goolwa is magnificent with our river and beach, so the town will prosper. Being on council has been enjoyable to give back to the community. I’m a people person, but as Franklin D Roosevelt said ‘I am an old campaigner and I like a good fight’.”
Jim has certainly lived and stood by his principles and is universally respected for that.