Byron wants library model shelved

THE FUTURE of the Richmond Tweed Regional Library group hangs in the balance with Byron Shire Council refusing to back the current library structure.

Numerous governance models were discussed at a meeting of the four governing councils - Ballina, Byron, Tweed and Lismore - in Mullumbimby yesterday.

Byron Shire Council refused to back the current arrangement which has Lismore City Council in charge.

Byron also rejected a request to run the service on behalf of all four councils, saying it doesn't like the current structure.

Byron general manager, Graeme Faulkner said the current model was not working.

"We have no control over decision making and all the liability in the world. It is totally unacceptable to our ratepayers," Mr Faulkner said.

"We think the safest way forward is to reinstate the library committee and work towards a county council model because those governance provisions provide certainty."

Other options put forward included creating a co-operative, a corporation, a trust and stand-alone arrangements.

Tweed Shire has already backed Lismore's administration, while Ballina council is yet to vote on whether to rescind council support for the current structure.

Ballina Mayor Philip Silver said he was confident Ballina would support leaving Lismore in charge.

"There is division but I sense that whatever the general manager and the three delegates today recommend, the council will probably run with," Cr Silver said.

Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell said ratepayers in Byron Shire Council would lose out if their council decided to back an independent library service.

"Library services for all patrons would be reduced if one of the local government area pulled out so I would hope they stick in there and find a model that suits everyone," Cr Dowell said.

The meeting concluded with Byron Shire agreeing to research other models and present the information at the next meeting.

The library committee of management will also be re-formed.



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