No fleet financing decision

Ed, Peter Mitchell, Seelands, in Wednesday’s letter to the editor (CVI 22/3/17), criticised a Council decision relating to fleet finance. He also emailed the same letter to Councillors under the banner of Assistant Finance Manager, Grafton District Services Club Ltd, 105-107 Mary Street Grafton, ph, direct line, fax and email. Generally, it is easy for people to criticise. Peter’s criticisms are around fleet management and leasing. Council’s position is:- 1. There is no decision to sell off the plant fleet as suggested in a consultants report. The consultants comment, needs to be taken in context, but in my view, is ridiculous and lacking common sense. 2. There is no decision to lease any item of plant and equipment and there are no items leased. 3. There was $17M in Plant Replacement Reserve (light and heavy fleet reserves) at one stage during the current financial year. Well and truly more than required to be held in fleet Reserve. Councillors have regular monthly workshops with senior officers, and all day sessions are set down for 24th March, 31st March and 4th April. At those and further workshops, Council’s budgets and operational plans will be worked through to arrive at a position for presentation and consultation with the community. So far as fleet replacement is concerned, all finance options will be considered including cash payment, a mixture of cash for some items and loan finance for others, and even leasing if terms give a better result. Council primarily has to satisfy the Minister for Local Government that progress is being made with regard to (1) operating profitably or at least return a balanced budget, and (2) addressing infrastructure maintenance backlog, which is primarily roads. So I expect plenty of community consultation coming up and some major decisions. To Peter, there is no need to criticise any of the Councillors, all are working to achieve a better outcome for residents, but there has to be change. Wake up in the morning with a smile and enjoy the day. Jim Simmons, mayor Clarence Valley Council