Councillors 'finally' unite to address $6m budget disaster
AS THE clock ticks down to June 30, Lismore City Council is under the pump to come up with a plan to balance its $6 million black hole.
At the council's extraordinary meeting on Tuesday night, councillors voted to defer or cancel 33 projects.
Now it's up to council staff to work out how to convert its fiscal nature from the red into the black.
And they have until May to do this.
Lismore mayor Isaac Smith said it was a self-imposed deadline.
"We have six weeks to put the budget together so it can go before the council meeting in May," he said.
"This is so it can be exhibited for 28 days ahead of the close the 2018-19 financial year."
Council's manager of finance and governance, Rino Santin, said its forecast debt amount as at June 30, 2019, was $69.15 million.
"This debt relates to borrowings for infrastructure such as roads, bridges, water supply, sewerage services, parks and buildings," he said.
Cr Smith said the Office of Local Government had been monitoring councillors and council meetings.
"The OLG said it is encouraged by what they have seen and the direction council is taking (on this matter)," he said.
The council's general manager Shelley Oldham said they were having conversations with the Office of Local Government and New South Wales Treasury Corporation, which is the central borrowing authority for the state of NSW.
Cr Smith said while he was pleased councillors appeared to have ceased sniping at each and buried their collective hatchets.
"It should not have take this situation for councillors to come together and take a 'whole of community' view," he said.
"It's no secret this has been a divided council and I'm glad the councillors are finally united.'
Cr Smith said it was now vital that councillors keep a "community-first" approach in mind.
"It's in the coming years it's important we maintain this approach so it (a disunited council) does not happen again," he said.
The Office for Local Government and NSW Treasury Corporation have been approached for comment.