Council rates meeting 'vote' a stunt or voice of angry town?

CLARENCE Valley Mayor Richie Williamson has branded a so-called vote calling for the dismissal of his council "a stunt" and a distraction from the real issues affecting a proposed 8% special rate variation (SRV).

The mayor was commenting on an incident at an information session for the SRV in the Maclean Civic Hall on Wednesday.

After the meeting several people moved to call on the Minister of Local Government Paul Toole to dismiss the council and appoint an administrator.

Cr Williamson said the motion calling for dismissal was not even close to fitting the requirements of meeting practice.

"It happened after the meeting was over," he said. "Someone in the front row shouted it out as people were exiting the meeting and there was some sort of show of hands.

"There was no debate, no arguments and no vote as you would expect in the normal conduct of a meeting," he said.

The mayor said the attention directed to this "bit of theatre" could distract people from the real issues which came out on Wednesday.

"I would like to thank the residents of Maclean for coming out in such numbers and asking valid questions that deserve a response," he said.

"The questions around asset management, paying down debt and the 24 discretionary services up for discussion commanded respect."

But moving the motion was far from a stunt for concerned Maclean resident Ian Saunders, who moved the motion.

"It seemed like they were keen to shut the meeting down, so that's why I read out the motion of no confidence, calling on the Minister to dismiss the council," he said.

"The chairman was rambling on and a few people were starting to leave, so I decided to read it out.

"Once I started to read it out, everyone stopped and came back. I can assure you no-one left the meeting."

Mr Saunders said the questions to the meeting had a negative tone.

"They were asking things like why did you do this, why didn't you do this," he said.

"The anger in the audience was palpable."

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