Rates hurt Michael
By SAMANTHA TURNBULL
SOUTH Lismore home owner Michael Quine does not know how he will pay his next rates bill.
The unemployed Wilson Street resident was hoping the Lismore City Council would adopt Option A of its three new rating systems proposed last month, which would have seen his bill decrease by about $50.
Instead, the council announced this week when it released its 2005/06 Budget, it had also chosen Option C as its new rating system.
Option C involves a base of $270 for all ratepayers, with the balance levied according to property valuation.
Mr Quine was disappointed with the council's choice which will result in his rates increasing by about $60.
However, he said he understood it was probably the fairest option for the majority of property owners in the Lismore area.
"It's not good news for me because I can't afford it basically," he said.
"I'm unemployed and on the dole, so every dollar counts. But if it's to the benefit of the majority like they say it is, what can you do?
"I guess I'm just in the wrong situation at the wrong time. The value of my land has effectively doubled, but that doesn't change the fact that I'm unemployed and below the poverty line."
Lismore mayor Merv King said he believed most residents would welcome the new rating system.
"I'm happy with what we've come up with after the public consultation we've undertaken," he said.
"There will be winners and losers, but we hoped to even it out so the winners didn't win by too much and the losers didn't lose by too much."
The council's draft Budget goes on public display from today until June 21.
The Budget can be viewed online at www.lis- more.nsw.gov.au.
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