Lismore council could face a staggering bill of $1 million a month to dispose of flood waste if NSW Public Works Authority transfers the responsibility to the council.
In 2017, the council was responsible for for the cleanup and the cost, claiming the expenses back through disaster funding arrangements.
After the February and March floods this year, Public Works was tasked with managing the clean up in Lismore.
Now, as the amount of flood waste is reduced, Public Works has advised the council there will be a point when it will have to take over and manage the ongoing clean up, including meeting the associated costs.
General Manager John Walker said the council was "blessed" this year to have help from Public Works, but did not support the council taking back the responsibility.
"We are still understanding why (Public Works are seeking to transfer the responsibility). We do not have the staff, we do not have the capacity. We will not do it if it puts us at any risk," Mr Waker said.
At the council meeting, councillors were asked to prepare for the transfer when it comes.
They were asked to consider whether to continue to use the contractors and contractual arrangements put in place by PWA to undertake the works.
"This would negate the need for council to call tenders for these works and make any transition quicker and easier than if tenders needed to be called," a report read.
Councillor Adam Guise raised concerns over the council's ability to manage the waste removal, and to foot the bill.
While the expense could be reimbursed through disaster funding, Cr Guise was concerned about recouping the money, whether all of the waste was flood waste, and whether it was all from the Lismore LGA.
"There has to be checks and balances. There can't be a blank cheque for those operators to keep carting our waste to Queensland," Cr Guise said.
"We are setting ourselves up for a budget black hole if we sign this."
Councillors voted to approve the request for a variation to normal procurement processes in regard to the council potentially taking responsibility for flood waste disposal as NSW Public Works Advisory transitions away from these activities.
Crs Elly Bird and Guise opposed the request.
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