Byron rates go up 9.5 Per cent
By ALEX EASTON
BYRON Shire residents face rate hikes ranging from $40 to more than $100 a year after the council voted in its second major increase in as many years.
As residents and businesses continued the clean-up following last week's floods, Byron councillors yesterday unanimously backed a 9.5 per cent rate rise.
The increase, which comes on the back of a 15.5 per cent increase last year, would have been higher if the State Government had not squashed the council's original plan for a 13.5 per cent rise.
Under the increase, a property at Shara Boulevard, Ocean Shores, valued at $196,000, would have its rates lifted from $464.56 to $508.69.
At the other end of the scale, rates on a property at Childe Street, Belongil, valued at $518,000, would jump from $1201.35 to $1315.49.
Byron mayor Jan Barham later said she saw no problem backing the rise so soon after the flood, which damaged homes at Ocean Shores, New Brighton, South Golden Beach, Billinudgel, Mullumbimby and Brunswick Heads.
Cr Barham said the increase was part of an ongoing program to lift rates in Byron Shire to the same level as the rates set by other councils.
Combined with ending the Mullumbimby council chambers debt, the rate rise would give the council the cash to improve and build public infrastructure, such as community halls and bike paths.
"We're still below the State average and this means we can deliver more to the community. No doubt we'll have a look at how infrastructure went in the recent flood, and look at introducing new programs to protect against it hitting so hard again," Cr Barham said.