Council looks to the future including making and spending money

Susanna Freymark

This is a summary of the Richmond Valley Council meeting on Tuesday, August 16. You can watch the full council meeting here.

At the beginning of each meeting members of the public can speak for up to four minutes.

This time, Jill Stops and Jill Lyons spoke about waste. There is a separate story coming on this because it is quite involved.

Here’s what happened in the rest of the meeting.

Trip up north

Councillors Sandra Humphrys and Robert Hayes plus deputy mayor Steve Morrissey went to the national saleyards expo in Cairns. The councillors gave reports on what they got out of the visit.

Ms Humphrys said there was talk about foot and mouth disease and lumpy skin disease and saleyards and producers needed to be prepared.

Mr Hayes pointed out the social value of saleyards and said the NRLX could look at creating places for people to connect at the saleyards to help reduce isolation and loneliness.

The staff, the team

Under the Local Government Act, councils across the state had to review their organisational structure.

General manager Vaughan Macdonald said succession planning was important for Richmond Valley.

“Other people need to know what you do so they can step in, as we saw with the floods,” he said.

“Our key behaviour is to be community focussed.”

And we come to the money

Mayor Robert Mustow said there had been “comment in recent times that council is losing money”.

“This is not factual,” he said.

“Last month was a poor month.”

The investments the council had a stake in did not perform well.

“This month the council gained $450,000 through investments,” he said.

“If we had pulled that money out in a panic last month, we wouldn’t have that $450,000.”

There are rumours going around about this, Mr Mustow said.

Read the full financial analysis report.

What projects get a grant?

These projects are being considered for funding from the $2.37 million from the State Government.

Customer service officer: $90,000

A person to be employed to meet the need for increased customer service.

Naughtons Gap Rd studies: $80,000

Colley Park netball and basketball courts: $320,000

Stan Payne Oval drainage works: $80,000

Road condition survey technology: $80,000

Simpsons Parade carpark: $300,000

Restoring recreation spaces in the Mid Richmond: $80,000

Evans Head boat ramp restoration, Paddon Park: $130,000

Woodburn CBD activation, detailed design: $120,000

Solar powered charging stations for electronic devices: $70,000

Rappville Hall flood resilience works: $100,000

Mobile emergency amenities and support facilities: $300,000

Tatham bridges realignment study: $100,000

Implement recommendations of NSW Government Flood Inquiry: $100,000

Emergency plans review: $50,000

Total: $2,000,000

Technology to survey road damage

The road conditions survey technology was explained by Mr Macdonald.

“We’ve had people walk the road network to assess roads,” he said.

“I threw the challenge to the team and said, ‘Surely there must be a better way’.”

They found a way to do it, Mr Macdonald said.

That was to attach a camera device to a car and drive the networks. The footage can be put into a program and the road network is assessed.

“Next time we are hit with a natural disaster, we can assess roads more quickly,” he said.

How much is made at the NRLX?

The stats for the year July–June have been compiled into a report.

Throughput 123,713 across 99 sales

Sales revenue $210 million-plus (the previous year it was $143 million-plus)

Council revenue share $2 million-plus

Agents’ estimated revenue share at 5% commission $10 million-plus

Operating return $29,000, compared with the previous year’s loss of $330,000

We love our libraries

Everyone in the room loved the Richmond-Upper Clarence regional libraries annual report about Richmond Valley (Casino, Evans Head, Coraki) and Kyogle libraries.

It showed an increase in all areas.

Here are some of the interesting numbers.

Almost 57,000 people used the libraries.

There are 16,000 members of the libraries.

There were 993 new members.

The library ran 597 programs.

The Justice of the Peace was used 635 times.

There were 6000 internet bookings

Who is building what?

There were 23 development applications in July. Two DAs were withdrawn because they did not meet standard requirements. The DA for a subdivision to create 18 lots at Box Ridge Rd, Coraki was unsuccessful.

Pet food company Frontier Pets put in a DA for more than $2 million of works including two freeze drying units (already installed) and construction of an onsite car park.

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