Lismore council cars may be cut

VANESSA EKINS wants to slash the amount of money Lismore City Council spends on passenger cars as part of its staff employment packages by 20 per cent.

The Lismore councillor will propose at next Tuesday’s council meeting that a report be prepared, providing options to reduce the $345,000 allocated in next year’s budget for passenger vehicles.

“It will be a saving of $70,000, which is not to be sneezed at,” Cr Ekins said.

“$345,000 is a large amount of money to spend on passenger vehicles, which is not related to core council business, so we have a few options.”

The controversy over the number of passenger vehicles provided to staff as part of their employment contracts came to a head in April when The Northern Star revealed that Lismore City Council provides more staff cars than comparable councils, such as Ballina and Dubbo.

“I understand we need a few cars to be available for staff through the day to attend meetings, but 33 is unreasonable,” Cr Ekins said yesterday.

Her motion calls on the council’s general manager, Paul O’Sullivan, to investigate how the budget for passenger cars can be reduced.

Cr Ekins said options would include negotiating with staff to forego their vehicles in return for extra money.

This would result in fuel savings worth $10,000, she said.

Another option is to encourage staff to opt for smaller four-cylinder cars instead of gas guzzling six-cylinder vehicles, saving $20,000.

Cr Ekins said she specifically left utilities out of the scope of the motion because these were work-related vehicles needed to perform the council’s core business.

If the motion is passed, the report will be presented to the council by the end of the year.

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