Lismore City Council's bold plan

By Alex Easton

LISMORE City Council will slug the average family close to an extra $100 a year while spending more than $1 million fighting global warming and encouraging the use of rainwater tanks.

Lismore's Strategic Plan Steering Committee has ticked off a draft management plan which runs $145,000 into the red, while offering new green measures and a rainwater tank rebate.

Council finance manager Reno Santin said the rate rise meant a jump of $96.55 for an average residential property in an urban area, such as Goonellabah, which had a garbage and recycling service, water, sewerage, and paid the waste minimisation charge.

Most increases were based on CPI, while boosted water fees came from the council passing an increased Rous Water bill.

The surprise items for the budget were $1 million to fight climate change and $100,000 for a new water tank rebate, which will add to Rous Water's existing rebate of up to $670.

Plumber Steve Campbell of Laser Plumbing at Lismore welcomed the rebate, saying the community was already embracing rainwater tanks.

"It's clever, and Lismore City Council should be congratulated for being so pro-active," he said.

Mr Campbell said demand for tanks presently outstripped supply, leaving customers with a 90-day wait.

The climate money would fund programs raised through the council's involvement in the Cities for Climate Protection program.

Under the program, council staff would put up proposals, along with an assessment of their cost and long-term financial and environmental benefit, to be considered for funding.

Potential projects range from a car -pooling program among council staff to offering rebates to residents who install solar panels for their hot water.

Mr O'Sullivan said precise details of the water tank rebate were still to be worked out, but it was intended to dovetail by the success of the city's odds and evens water conservation scheme.

Rous Water was levelling an average 15 per cent increase in water charges to its four member councils, but the increase varied according to the amount of water each area used.

Lismore topped the poll in water conservation, being given an 11 per cent hike.



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