Casino livestock selling centre, the Northern Rivers Livestock Exchange, continues to operate at a deficit, with the lion's share of income returning to producers and their local agents, the council has disclosed this week.
In a report tabled on Tuesday, estimated agencies' revenue shared between five companies was $7.1 million last financial year compared to $10.5m the year before.
Meanwhile the saleyards cost ratepayers $647,303 last year.
Gross sales through NRLX fell from $210.4m in 2021-22 to $142.2m last year with $133.3m going to cattle producers and only $1.56m going to the council.
"The commitment made to our community in 2016 to run this community asset as a financially sustainable business and to pursue significant infrastructure upgrades with a focus on animal welfare and work health and safety improvements should remain a priority," argued the council.
"The increased number of sales which essentially equate to two sales per week over 48 weeks, have heightened the pressure on the NRLX staff to adequately maintain and clean the facility in preparation for the next sale, necessitating a reliance on contracted staff, and overtime costs. The intensity and frequency of sales is higher in February and March of the year due to the weaner cattle sales, where significant numbers of livestock are sold."
The stand-off and resulting further loss of income prompted one councillor to ask if the facility could be used for other business.
Richmond Valley Council general manager Vaughan Macdonald reiterated yesterday: "The community made clear that the NRLX should be run by Council and in a financially sustainable manner, which means those who benefit from it should pay for its operation and not rely on ratepayer subsidies.
"Our offer of agency licences and fees is in line with other privately owned saleyards which provide a return on investment to investors. We are aiming for it to break even. There shouldn't be a need for any public investment or involvement if those who benefit from the livestock market place pay the reasonable fees that have been set."