Lismore City Council mayor Isaac Smith explains the 2020/21 budget.
Lismore City Council mayor Isaac Smith explains the 2020/21 budget.

Mayor reflects on ‘toughest’ budget in Lismore history

IT'S been described as the budget nobody wanted, but Lismore City Council has no choice but to move forward with its financial plans for 2020/21.

The council approved the next financial year's operational budget with a deficit of $458,000.

Mayor Isaac Smith said this is "the toughest budget" he's ever dealt with in council but was determined the controversial plan will get the council back on track in the long run.

"We've had to make major cuts across the organisation and everybody is affected, but we are going back to basis with our core services," Cr Smith said.

"We're starting with a deficit of $458,000 for the coming year, which is not the place you want to be but given the circumstances with coronavirus, bushfires and droughts, council has no option but to move forward in this way and get our services out in the coming year.

"We're going to face an uphill battle trying to claw that back, but councillors are determined to work with staff for the benefit of our community.

"We're creating a baseline for the future, so the councils in coming years don't have to put up with the issues we are now facing."

The council made some adjustments to the budget, including funding NORPA, supporting Lismore Toy Library and reintroducing Nimbin Walking Trail and our Renewable Energy Master Plan back into the budget.


The Quad, Lismore
The Quad, Lismore


But there's been some big cuts made to the budget in an effort to save money, with many people in the community outraged by some of the decisions.

More than 200 people submitted their concerns about the budget.

Here are some of the things that will be scrapped:

•Council will close the Brewster Street Drop-off Centre due to safety concerns and work to find a new location

•The Quad placemaking position, which normally is a $40,000 contribution, will not be included in the budget

•Tip vouchers will be reduced to one per household, with a cap of 5000 expected to be issued.