Clarence Valley Council hands over $72k

CLARENCE Valley Council was keen to let go of its responsibilities for South Grafton Aerodrome, but some councillors were slower to pass on the $72,000 the controlling committee had raised in surplus.

In April this year the council agreed to gain permission from NSW Trade and Investment Crown Lands department to assign the lease of the aerodrome to the South Grafton Aerodrome Hangar Owners Inc, a trust largely made up of the same people who served on the council's 355 committee.

At Tuesday's council meeting the staff report revealed the council's Section 355 committee, which has managed the aerodrome, had a closing balance of $59,084.59 and an operating account with a surplus of $13,478.

The council had been looking after the aerodrome for Crown Lands through its Section 355 committee and sought to simplify the arrangement by removing itself.

Crown Lands has given consent to assign the lease for the aerodrome to the South Grafton Aerodrome Aircraft Hangar Owners group and for the transfer of money from one trust to the other.

Confusion arose because an error in the report described the committee as a proprietary limited company rather than an incorporated association.

Cr Andrew Baker asked if it were possible there were two bodies, the incorporated body and a proprietary limited body created to get better public liability insurance.

He proposed council delay the transfer of the funds from the old trust account to the new one for a month so any discrepancies could be sort out.

Cr Margaret McKenna sought to amend the motion to handover the lease so that the transfer of funds was delayed, but this was defeated.

She claimed the source of funds in the trust account could have been from grant money coming to council.

Not all councillors shared their fears. Cr Jim Simmons could not understand what all the fuss was about.

Cr Arthur Lysaught said he was comfortable any money the Section 355 committee raised was for the use of the aerodrome and was not sure any other legal advice was needed.

Mayor Richie Williamson said the error in the report was proved to be a typo and urged the councillors to proceed with the change over.

The motion to proceed was passed 6-3.

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