Road repairs or libraries: What should the state govt fund?
LISMORE councillors have called on the State Government to "cough up some money” for road infrastructure and libraries.
Last night's council meeting included the always flammable topics of repairing roads and the state of library funding.
Cr Adam Guise urged leadership on the matter of the region's libraries, saying NSW libraries received less funding than nearly any other state in Australia.
But Cr Greg Bennett spoke against the motion, as he said the community would prefer the money to be spent on road repairs and hospitals.
"The state government only has so much money, so what do we cut?” he asked.
However, the motion was carried.
During the public access period, Lismore Pre-School and Kindergarten director, Alexis Hughes, spoke in favour of the expansion and lease of the service.
She said the expansion included no change to classrooms during the expansion but the office and eating area would be removed and rebuilt with a second storey.
Marist Brothers representative Paul O'Neil spoke on behalf of the rugby league club, which is asking for the council to provide financial assistance by writing off their non-payment of $4422.36 in ground fees for Crozier Field and Oakes Oval, due to the damage and lack of income after the 2017 flood.
"We copped a lot during the flood, we could not use the electronic scoreboard our canteen lost everything, we had no power,” he said.
"The day after the flood we had 35 people from Marist Bros down there to fix things, clean out the space.”
Former kebab shop owner, Big Rob, questioned the council's need to travel to Lincang, China, for a proposed sister city relationship.
He said he understood no-one who was listed as attending had international trade on their resume.
"Are we like a travel agent for business?” he asked.
Jolyon Burnett from the Australian Macadamia Society spoke in favour of the motion.
"The AMS does not get nor does it seek any direct benefit from this delegation for a sister city,” he said.
"We already have good relationship with them (China) ... I will not be seeking a cent from Lismore if I accompany the delegation.”
Mr Burnett said he believes there are great benefits from a sister city relationship with Lincang.
"We have a lot in common despite disparities in size,” he said.
"Although they have 2 million people, they have a university with agricultural research and there are certainly avenues for both cities to explore outside my interests and expertise.”
During the debate about the council's proposed visit to China, voices were raised and tempers flared.
Cr Ekins accused Cr Smith of wanting to "take a junket”.
Cr Smith said he felt Cr Ekins language was unsuitable and he confirmed non-council delegates would pay their own way.
Cr Lloyd spoke against the visit, and said she "would feel sick to her stomach” if she went on the trip when the council was planning on taxing residents over road repairs.
After robust discussion, Cr Smith said the motion needed to be passed so it could be debated at the April meeting. It was carried.
When the report on the Transport Assets (Roads) Special Rate Variation came to the table, councillors debated about the wisdom to ask the community about their feelings on paying this extra amount.
Cr Gianpiero Battista and Cr Eddie Lloyd argued against the motion, as they said it would make life harder for people still suffering from the 2017 flood.
Cr Battista said this SRV was nothing more than a tax and would only stop people spending money and would adversely affect small businesses in town.
The motion was lost.