CVC seeks deadline extension to submit finance plan
THE CLARENCE Valley wants more time to prove to the State Government it can be Fit for the Future.
Clarence Valley Mayor Jim Simmons has contacted the Office of Local Government to explain how his council missed the midnight Wednesday deadline to reassess its financial position and to seek an extension of time to make a new submission.
Clarence Valley Council staff had prepared a submission, but an extraordinary council meeting on Wednesday voted it down, because it included a component seeking a 9% special rates variation.
In its place, councillors voted for an eight-point plan following a motion by CrAndrew Baker which outlined how the council could attain a 'nil deficit' budget without resorting to special rates rises.
Cr Simmons said he had phone and email contact with the OLG on Thursday and general manager Scott Greensill had submitted a covering letter and Cr Baker's resolution.
The Mayor said he needed to support Mr Greensill's approach because there were some issues involving councillors which he felt obliged to address.
"I'm confident Scott handled the matter in the most professional manner,” Cr Simmons said.
"I stressed there were three councillors in their first term on the council and we were dealing with an issue which had come down to them from the previous council.
"I assured the OLG they were fully aware of the need to make changes that the council needs to make to be Fit for the Future.”
Cr Simmons said while he understood the need for councillors to make decisions, he felt it was unfair the previous council had handballed the SRV component of Fit for the Future submission to the new council.
"I don't think it was fair on the new council, although with the time constraints in making the community consultation, something had to be done,” he said.
The OLG confirmed it had received the council's request for an extension to make a submission.
"The Office will consider the request and notify the council in due course,” he said.
The spokesperson said there were real issues for councils deemed not Fit for the Future, although conditions could vary between them.
"Generally 'not fit councils' do not have access to the government's TCorp borrowing facility,” he said.
"And they can also face the prospect of being issued with a Performance Improvement Order, which requires a council take steps to improve their financial performance and long-term financial sustainability.”