109 public submissions in response to tough council budget
AN EXTRAORDINARY meeting of Lismore City Council will be held tonight, with councillors set to vote on one of the toughest budgets ever.
A total of 109 public submissions were received in response to the revised delivery program and operational plan.
Many people raised concerns about cuts to various projects, which were axed due to the "significant 2018/19 cash deficit” of $6.1 million.
Some of the main issues that were highlighted in the submissions included:
- Increase to user fees at Lismore Memorial Baths for Lismore Workers Swim Club
- Increased parking fees at Lismore Base Hospital
- Introduction of paid parking for Kirkland carpark
- Decrease in funding for NORPA
- Cuts to the community grant scheme
- Concerns about running costs at the Goonellabah Sports and Aquatic Centre.
A number of submissions raised concerns about plans to increase rates above the pegging limit, but the council report explained this was not part of the budget.
"It is intended that commencing August 2019, council will undertake an extensive community consultation with the community about a proposed Special Rate Variation,” the report states.
"The outcome of the consultation will be reported to the November 2019 council meeting.
"Should council resolve to proceed with a Special Rate Variation, an application would be made to IPART in February 2020.”
As part of the changes to the delivery program, some activities and projects will be excluded or changed.
Amendments will also aim to better address planning and reporting requirements, and to more clearly identify strategies and proposed actions.
The staff recommendation is that "all submissions be received and noted” and the delivery program and operational plan be adopted subject to a minor amendment relating to the provision of AUSLAN interpreter services at Lismore Regional Gallery events.
Councillors will vote on the matter at tonight's meeting from 6pm.