Kyogle council ‘fit’ in every way but population
KYOGLE Council was deemed financially sustainable and able to fix its huge infrastructure backlog as a standalone entity, but still unfit for the future.
IPART found the council met every criterion except for the "scale and capacity" standards set by the State Government-set.
In a nutshell, it had too many people to be classed as rural and was too close to regional centres Casino and Lismore.
The local government nominated to be tested as a rural council, which would have earned it less stringent measures in order to pass the IPART test.
But the review deemed only populations of 5000 or less could be classed rural.
Local government areas with 10,000 or more residents could be considered to remain stand-alone councils.
Kyogle had 9950 residents - too many to make the rural category and just 50 people too few to stand on its own two feet.
Mayor Danielle Mulholland said the fight was not over yet and options would be discussed at a special meeting on Monday.
"There is a lot of conflicting information in the report," she said."Is IPART infallible? If it's not, we have to assume it has made errors.
"We will be discussing those errors at our meeting.
"Cr Mulholland said the Independent Local Government Review Panel report that preceded IPART's testing said councils may be eligible to remain separate entities if they could prove their populations were increasing, even if they had fewer than 10,000 people.
"Essentially, we have fallen through the crack. We are not rural and we don't meet scale and capacity as a stand-alone council," she said.Councils across the state have until November 18 to respond to IPART's findings.
Cr Mulholland said residents were overwhelmingly opposed to joining with a neighbouring council like Richmond Valley or Lismore."Our last survey was in January 2014, when 78% of constituents did not want mergers," she said.
"We have to wait for letters from the minister and cabinet, each one specific to each council, and then we will have some further direction."