To merge or not to merge? That is the question for Kyogle
CRUNCH time is imminent for Kyogle Council, with a vote expected Monday to decide whether it will press on alone, or opt to merge with either Lismore or Richmond Valley Council.
Kyogle mayor Danielle Mulholland yesterday lodged an urgency motion on the matter for Monday night's meeting, with the exact wording still confidential.
The mayor was not available for comment yesterday.
Kyogle Council has previously been declared "unfit" under controversial State Government guidelines which failed the council on "scale and capacity" measures.
It now has until November 18 to make a decision, or let $5 million from the State Government slip through its fingers.
It still may be forced to amalgamate after that date, but won't get the money.
Last time it put the matter to a vote, amalgamation was rejected.
Community polls have found 70% of ratepayers are against.
Meeting of councils
The council has conducted repeat meetings with both Richmond Valley and Lismore to consider the financial nuts and bolts of amalgamation.
While Lismore has repeatedly said it had no interest in a partnership, Richmond Valley is considerably more receptive, with mayor Ernie Bennett saying his council wouldn't "turn their backs" on Kyogle.
A merger between Richmond Valley (RVC) and Kyogle could make RVC the next North Coast "super council", with its boundaries stretching from south of Evans Head to the Queensland border.
A final staff report will be delivered to councillors on Monday morning which summarises the case for amalgamation with both neighbours.
Councillors have their say
Cr Ross Brown said he was still undecided about which way to vote.
"We need to sit down and look at that (report) and let that be the basis of some kind of decision," he said.
Cr Robert Dwyer said he was firmly against a merger until clearer information was provided.
"I don't believe what the government is offering at this stage is anywhere near what is required," Cr Dwyer said.
"Amalgamation for amalgamation's sake is not going to fix council's problem - any council or that matter.
"There has to be proven benefits to come out of it. Council is in a difficult position."