Rate hike seen as inevitable
Alex Easton firstname.lastname@example.org THERE'S nothing surer than death, taxes and council rate rises, according to Casino homeowner Sonia Butler. The State Government may have deferred Richmond Valley Council's 10 per cent rate hike, but Ms Butler said she had no doubt it would come through 'eventually'. If it doesn't, Mayor, Charlie Cox and council general manager, Brian Wilkinson yesterday warned basic services would face the budget axe, starting with parks and gardens maintenance. Their warning came after Local Government Minister, Paul Lynch announced the State Government had deferred Richmond Valley Council's rate rise until it got more information on projects to be funded by the increase. Mr Wilkinson said those projects, such as roads maintenance and improvements to the Mid-Richmond Retirement Village could also be reduced or scrapped if the extra money did not come through. Cr Cox said the council remained committed to an increased roads budget in 2007-08, but could look at measures such as purchasing second-hand cars rather than new one. Casino Residents Association president Owen Crawford said his group continued to oppose the rate hike, saying the council should instead drop 'luxury items' such as the Casino CBD upgrade. Ms Butler said she didn't want the rate hike, but that wouldn't stop it coming. "It's just something we're going to have to budget for," she said. Ms Butler questioned council's spending habits, on a heritage study in her street, saying it didn't take expensive reports to see its value.