5 key topics at today's council meeting

THE Clarence Valley's acting general manager Ashley Lindsay has been busy with 11 reports and two late items of business from his office appearing on Tuesday's council meeting agenda.

The names of five of these reports begins with the word "draft" and relate to medium to long term planning guidelines the council must adopt and put out for public exhibition.

Here are five of the main items up for discussion:

1. Who can hire and fire

The council has received legal advice that the council should rescind point five of Cr Andrew Baker's eight-point plan from November 2016 that showed how the council could manage its finances without a special rates variation.

Point 5 of the plan said the council should develop a workforce model that resulted in no nett staff reductions after accounting for forecast reductions from the depot rationalisation project, natural attrition and efficiency savings and use council staff to carry out tasks performed by contractors and consultants.

The previous general manager Scott Greensill was concerned the motion might be unlawful because oversight of all but the most senior levels of council staff was the general manager's responsibility.

The advice from the council's solicitors, Marsdens Law Group said there was an interpretation of the resolution that could be unlawful and it should be rescinded.

2. Ageing workforce

One of the draft reports contains results of a Preliminary Organisation Structure Review of the council's workforce which recognises it is ageing. This posed specific challenges around succession planning.

The immediate concern is to manage the departure of employees in key positions and managing a transition plan.

The report also looks at ways to remove systemic barriers to employing indigenous people at the council.

3. Water and sewer new report

Updated modelling of the the council's sewerage and water plans show it will not need to make any borrowings for Grafton Sewerage Augmentation.

For more than a decade from 2005 the council slugged ratepayers increasing amounts for sewerage and water in their rates bills until 2015/16 to cover the big water and sewerage infrastructure projects.

In 2015 the council resolved to drop rates increases for sewer and water to 1.5% after it paid off the majority of these works.

 

Yamba Sewerage Treatment Plant.
Yamba Sewerage Treatment Plant.

4. Diggers Camp Headland new rules

Primitive camping at Diggers Camp could be on the way out with the council proposing a suite of new rules to govern stays at popular camping reserve.

One of the chief recommendations is a computerised booking system to replace the first in first served operation favoured by campers now.

>> RELATED STORY: Should council regulate primitive camping ground?

 

Diggers Camp.
Diggers Camp. Jaz Krys

5. Last stand at Challinor St

Grafton's Challinor St residents will make their last stand against a council proposal to allow a development application for 21 workers accommodation huts in their street.

Last week the council's environment planning and community meeting recommended the DA be approved, with a couple of extra recommendations to police traffic movements and behaviour of the occupants.

The residents are lobbying councillors to seek a deferral to take a closer look at some of the traffic problems the development could create.

>> RELATED STORY: Residents vow to keep dongas off their street

 

Challinor St resident Gary Harrison delivers his deputation to councillors inspecting the site of the Challinor St development in Grafton.
Challinor St resident Gary Harrison delivers his deputation to councillors inspecting the site of the Challinor St development in Grafton. Tim Howard

Meeting time

The meeting is in the Grafton Council Chamber from 4pm on Tuesday.

If you can't make the meeting you can listen in online here.



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