The Goonellabah branch of the Richmond-Tweed Library Service will stay open for at least another year after Lismore City Council (LCC) found other last-minute savings to its budget, which was passed on Tuesday night.
LCC’s progressive majority pushed through the closure proposal in May but numerous residents, including Liberal councillor Gianpiero Battista, took to social media to oppose it.
Council’s last pre-budget meeting on June 11 saw a major backtrack, with a majority of councillors voting to ask staff to find the $84,000 savings elsewhere.
On Tuesday night, councillors accepted staff recommendations to trim Thursday and Friday night closing times at the Lismore Library back to 5pm as well as closing the Goonellabah Library on Wednesdays and at lunchtimes to avoid having to shut the branch altogether.
An alternative proposal to close Lismore Library on Sundays did not go ahead.
‘The library staff are to be congratulated,’ Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell told ABC radio yesterday. ‘They found some internal savings so there are some cuts… but that’s enabled the Goonellabah Library to stay open.’
She warned, however, that LCC will ‘need to make significant savings of about $1 million again next year. Nothing is guaranteed from year to year,’ she said, ‘but the community has strongly spoken about the value of this library.’
Roads get more
Cr Dowell said pruning of other budgets had enabled the roads budget to increase by $700,000 this year, creating a total budget of $30.6 million to tackle infrastructure backlogs.
‘That’s roughly 25 per cent of the council budget. It’s a huge figure,’ she said, adding council would be looking to ensure the department spent it prudently and got value for money.
Also approved on Tuesday night was a $3.6 million materials recycling facility, which the mayor said would pay for itself within 10 years and avoid the cost of sending potentially valuable recyclable material to landfill.