Richmond Valley Council general manager Vaughan Macdonald was asked to explain himself in last nights council meeting.
Richmond Valley Council general manager Vaughan Macdonald was asked to explain himself in last nights council meeting. Marc Stapelberg

Why was council boss on bonnet of police car, hands spread?

RICHMOND Valley Council's meeting last night ended on an unexpected but light-hearted note.

Cr Steve Morrissey asked for comment on why the council's general manager, Vaughan Macdonald, was seen photographed in a compromising position across the bonnet of a police wagon.

"Yes, I was on the bonnet of a police Pajero with my hands spread,” Mr Macdonald admitted, but said it was all in the name of fun.

Other discussions of the night were just as breezy, with matters including the council's financial statements and a rezoning of land at Rileys Hill, near Broadwater.

In pleasing news for the council, the most recent review by NSW Treasury Corporation, found their financial sustainability rating was changed to be moderately sustainable with a neutral outlook.

This was a significant improvement on the previous review in April 2013 which found the council's financial stability rating of weak with an outlook of negative.

Their operating performance ratio of 7.50 per cent is up from last financial year and exceeds the benchmark of 0 per cent.

The council's revenue for the last financial year increased from $49,353,000 to $56,458,000, with the main areas of change being an increase in operating grants and contributions, and an increase in user charges and fees.

Expenditure had an increase from $47,626,000 to $48,951,000, with the main areas of change in expenditure being increases in employee costs and materials and contracts, and a decrease in loss on sale of assets.

On the planning proposal to rezone land at Rileys Hill, which could see the village double in size, Cr Simpson expressed concern on the following statement: "All adjoining property owners will be notified for consultation purposes following a Gateway Determination and National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) will be given an opportunity to provide comment.”

He asked: "Why do we wait to find the Gateway Determinations to consult with the community about the project ... I feel with council being asked to put it forward but we haven't spoken to the community about it.”

Infrastructure and environment director, Angela Jones, said it was "the first step of a six to 12 month process” and "the land had been identified for future growth in council and regional strategies ... (we) believe it is suitable for the proposed land use”.

"It will come back to council prior to the plan to be made potentially for future residential use,” Ms Jones said.

The next ordinary council meeting will be held from 5pm on December 19.



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