Mayor Richie WilliamsonPhoto Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner
Mayor Richie WilliamsonPhoto Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner Adam Hourigan

UPDATE: Shock bid to overturn council fleet leasing plan

<< Click here to listen in to the meeting, which begins at 4pm today >>

UPDATE, 2.45PM: There has been a shock late bid to overturn the Clarence Valley Council's plan to adopt leasing arrangement for its light and heavy fleet acquisitions.

Later today the council will consider a late item of business put forward by former mayor Cr Richie Williamson, and co-signed by deputy mayor Jason Kingsley and Cr Greg Clancy.

The item, which appeared on the council website this morning, is a rescission motion for three parts of the motion put up by Cr Andrew Baker at an extraordinary council meeting in November.

The motion aims to rescind the sections of the motions dealing with switching the council's light and heavy fleet acquisitions to leasing arrangements. It also aims to rescind using the plan in a Fit For The Future submission to the State Government.

Cr Baker's motion allowed the council to use money in the council's fleet reserve and other funds to carry out infrastructure repair, without resorting to a special rate variation, which would have increased the base rate take by 9%.

If the lease plan, which the general manager claims will add $20 million to the council's debt, goes down, it creates some interesting scenarios.

The council has missed the deadline to apply for a special rates rise, which the council wanted to raise money to fund its infrastructure backlog.

There has also been some speculation about how wedded the State Government is to Fit For The Future, with a new Minister for Local Government, Gabrielle Upton, trying to clear up the mess local government reform has created for the government.

Cr Clancy's signature on the rescission motion raises some interesting thoughts about how the vote could go.

He was absent from the November meeting called to decide on the council's Fit For The Future submission, which included the SRV.

With the vote locked at 4-all, the Mayor Jim Simmons, voted against approving the submission including the rate rise.

At the time he said he used his casting vote to defeat the SRV proposal because he was aware Cr Clancy would have voted against it.

This time Cr Arthur Lysaught, a supporter of the SRV proposal,  won't be at the meeting and Cr Simmons could well be put in a similar position this afternoon. And Cr Clancy appears to have switched sides.


Clarence Valley Council will meet as a whole for the first time in 2017 with councillors primed to make some vital decisions straight up.

Here are five items that should lead to plenty of debate.

1. Three reports from the general manager.

  • Fit for the Future Resolution Update
  • Former South Grafton Sewage Treatment Plant Remediation
  • Depot Rationalisation Project - Project Control Group.

The Fit for the Future report says the council risks going $20 million further into debt and the discovery of asbestos on the South Grafton Depot site has blown out its costs.

<< The decision that could cost council $20M >>

One measure the contractors are using on the council depot site to combat asbestos contamination.
One measure the contractors are using on the council depot site to combat asbestos contamination. Tim Howard

2. Borrowing Policy - Updated for Leasing

Elements of this are related to the Fit for the Future resolution mentioned earlier. Basically changing the council decision to lease rather than buy its heavy and light flight means changes must be made.

<< 8-point plan to fix council's debt-ridden finances >>

3. Short Term Rental Accommodation in the R2 Low Density Residential Zone

The Yamba Residents Action Group has already flagged it will go legal on this one if the council presses ahead with changes to zoning. The committee deferred making a decision to Tuesday's meeting.

<< Yamba residents threaten court action against council >>

4. Clarence Coast Reserve Trust - Roads and Maritime Services Proposed Office Facility, Yamba Road, Yamba

The Fisheries building in Maclean has been a thorn in the side redevelopment of the Maclean riverside precinct for years. Now the RMS wants to operate out of Yamba, which could free up the Fisheries building.

5. Confidential matters

  • Mayoral Minute - General Manager's Performance Agreement
  • Legal Matter
  • Youth Facilities Proposal for the Clarence Valley
  • Proposed Disposal of Council Property

These items are discussed behind closed doors, but watch out for the resolutions arising from them. They are published in the minutes of the meeting which are available online from the council's website.

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