CR JAN BARHAM  taking up the business of a tourism levy.
CR JAN BARHAM  taking up the business of a tourism levy.

Survey indicates support for small Byron rate rise

By RACHEL AFFLICK rachel.afflick@northernstar.com.au BYRON Shire mayor Jan Barham says the community might support a rate rise this year, if the results of a new survey are anything to go by.

The survey, conducted in late November and early December, asked 600 residents to rate problem areas in their community.

Roads, affordable housing, public toilets and youth services were among the areas with the biggest performance gaps - possibly a sign, Cr Barham said, residents would support a small rate increase.

“The fact is we are still below average in the basic amount of money we collect,” she said.

“We’ll be able to go back to the community with this and seek support for a rate rise.”

Cr Barham said there were no real surprises in the survey results.

She said many of the issues identified by the public were already on council’s agenda.

“I think it’s really important the issues surrounding affordable housing and youth services have been recognised by the community,” Cr Barham said.

“We’ve had some problems and we’re trying to address them. I think it’s really an affirmation of what council is doing.”

About 150 business owners and managers also took part in the survey.

For their part, businesses said parking was the issue they were least satisfied with.

Cr Barham said it was interesting to see a contrast between the priorities of businesses and the public.

Business owners listed tourism as most important, but residents put it at the bottom of their list.

Cr Barham said the council would be looking at whether businesses would lend their support to a tourism levy.

“We’ve seen this summer with the weather, and it doesn’t just affect accommodation places,” Cr Barham said.

“All business from food outlets to the farmers supplying them have been hit.

“It’s a big cycle. We would be seeking from all businesses the willingness to contribute.”

Cr Barham said it was encouraging to see business owners had a placed a high priority on environmentally sustainable initiates.

“Their vision is much the same as ours – for an environmental, low-key community,” she said.



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