Richmond Valley demands $10 million if forced to merge
RICHMOND Valley Council has rejected amalgamation with any of its neighbours in response to the State Government's November 18 deadline on local council merger positions.
But unlike Lismore City and Kyogle - who refused to contemplate any kind of merger - Richmond Valley asked for an extra $10 million if a forced amalgamation with Kyogle were to occur.
Richmond Valley mayor Ernie Bennett said the council would need at least that much to help pay for the overhaul of Kyogle's aging timber bridges.
The mayor said he was convinced that the government was "pressing ahead" with forced mergers despite most local residents wanting to stay on their own.
"Our preference is to stand alone, we just want the government to know if they are going to force a merger and it happens to be Kyogle, these are some of the issues that need to be dealt with," he said.
"I think it would be negligent of us not to at least try to secure $10 million."
A business case prepared by the council found that the impacts of any merger with Kyogle would be "largely felt by and funded by Richmond Valley."
It also identified "no benefits" for Richmond Valley and a "high degree of risk" with widely touted merger cost savings "notoriously hard to realise".