A proposal to sell off Corowa's saleyards has been rejected by Federation Council mayor Pat Bourke.
Offloading the livestock market is one of 77 recommendations made by Newcastle University professor Joseph Drew in his final report considering the council's financial status and advantages and disadvantages of amalgamation.
The academic was engaged by the council in July to assess its viability and produced a 128-page report which concluded Federation has "significant financial sustainability challenges".
"The problems go back decades and were further exacerbated by the ill-conceived amalgamation," Professor Drew noted, referring to the union of Corowa and Urana councils which saw Federation formed in 2016.
He flags the need for a special rate variation but warns it is only one element and other measures are needed.
Professor Drew's recommendations include the classification of spending as core or discretionary, a better focus on roads maintenance and considering making some 'dry access only' and converting a number from sealed to unsealed and improved budget management.
It also suggested that the council divest itself of management of Corowa's Ball Park caravan park and aquatic centre on the basis they're non-core services, overstretch staff and create risk.
Similarly, Professor Drew states "we need to consider whether it might be advisable to remove the long-term risk and distraction posed by the saleyard business".
"Physical saleyards may continue to lose volume to online and direct options in the future and council could ultimately be left with an unsaleable asset," he advised.
Cr Bourke said as a business person, he disagreed with Professor Drew's opinion, pointing out a $9.2 million upgrade to expand the saleyards was due to be completed early next year.
"Why would we sell the saleyards when they're completely up to date and we're debt-free there and the state government came in and helped with the funding for the work there?" Cr Bourke pondered.
"The money's been spent and now it's time to earn a dollar."
The mayor was more amenable to the road recommendations.
"That is really commonsense because it would take an enormous amount of funding to update them all, so we've got to really prioritise our roads/bus routes that need to be kept in good shape," Cr Bourke said.
"It's a bit like when you go out to Bourke and you're not allowed to drive on some roads."
Cr Bourke also noted the report stressed the need for ongoing councillor representation from the north of the shire and said it showed the council was not being idle.
"All those bickering and all the ex-mayors and ex-councillors who have been knocking council for the last four years, saying 'what have they done, what is this mess?'; that is a whole heap of rot and the report sets that out," he said.
"It shows we're making a difference and building a financial picture and it proves Corowa led the merger and saw the minister because they were in financial difficulty and Urana wasn't the poor cousin."
Professor Drew's report and recommendations were tabled at the council's meeting on November 28 and further discussion on it is expected at the December gathering.
Having only a year with the tiered supervision structure was deemed to be insufficient to realise benefits or savings and created uncertainty with staffing.