Lennox move to alter how rates are set
By DAWN COHEN
A PUSH to alter how Ballina rates are calculated could significantly affect how much residents pay.
The Lennox Head Residents' Association wants a base rate applied to all blocks, with a small top-up based on land values.
Ballina residents currently pay a percentage of their land value, with a minimum rate of $383.
"If your land is worth $175,000 or more you will do better under a base rate system," said association president, Brian Smith.
The current system links rates directly to land values, while the new option spreads the burden more evenly through the shire.
"Every residential block receives the same services from council," Mr Smith said.
"Pensioners find themselves on valuable land, having to pay beyond their cash resources.
"The problem will only get worse as land values increase."
Mr Smith said Lennox Head residents constituted 18 per cent of ratepayers, but contributed 28 per cent of rates collected.
The NSW Government dictates the total amount a council can raise from rates each year.
Last year, Ballina Shire Council collected $9.8 million.
"The pie size remains the same, no matter which method we use to divide it up," said Paul Hickey, Ballina Shire Council corporate services group manager.
"If some people get a rate decrease, others will pay more."
Bob Wilson, chairman of the Alstonville Ratepayers' Association, is one resident who would be worse off if the system is altered. However, the 58-year-old supports the change.
"Nobody wants their rates to go up, but I can understand the position of Lennox Head people," Mr Wilson said.
The issue will be considered at next month's Ballina council meet-ing.
A Lennox Head Residents' Association meeting to look at rates will be held on Monday at 7pm at the Lennox Head Anglican Church.
What do you think?
Phone the Star Feedback line on 6624 3266 or email