Lismore City Council Chambers. The Northern Star
Lismore City Council Chambers. The Northern Star

BREAKING: Councillors will vote again on rate rise

UPDATE 1.30pm: LISMORE City Council will vote again on whether to raise rates after a rescission motion to stop a 24 per cent increase over four years was deemed legal.

A council spokesman confirmed the council had received legal advice to confirm there was no legal ramifications over the rescission motion lodged by Councillors Nancy Casson, Greg Bennett, Gianpiero Battista in opposition to last Tuesday's decision approve the Special Rate Variation.

The council will meet on Tuesday at 6pm to vote on the rescission motion.

ORIGINAL STORY: LISMORE City Council is divided over its decision to increase rates by up to 24 per cent over four years, after some councillors have challenged the rate increase by lodging a rescission motion.

Five of the eight councillors present in chambers on Tuesday voted to support a staggered increase of the base rate by 7.5, 9.4, 3.9 and 3.2 per cent increases over four years, as part of the Special Rates Variation (SRV) to improve the failing roads budget and infrastructure backlog.

However, a rescission motion has been lodged by councillors Nancy Casson, Greg Bennett and Gianpiero Battista, which is expected to be discussed next Tuesday during an additional council meeting.

But a council spokesman confirmed the council is seeking legal advice around the rescission motion and "are unable to comment further at this stage".

Cr Casson said she was outraged the council had voted in support of the rates increase, especially after it consulted the community who indicated the majority of ratepayers do not want an increase to their rates.

"I get really cross because we spend money on a consultation with the community then don't listen to them," Cr Casson said.

"They probably all despise me (at council) but I'm here for the ratepayers.

"I personally don't think our ratepayers have the money.

"That 26 cents a day extra for rates is the money that's usually spent (in Lismore) for food and it's going to have an impact on local business here.

"They can't afford a rate rise."

Cr Casson said said the council needed to find alternative solutions to solving the road funding problem.

"I'm not happy with this one," she said.

"This council has to make the hardcore decision and stop spending money.

"Roads are extremely important and the money is there but it's going in the wrong bucket."

Whether the council decides to increase rates or not, its decision must be submitted to Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) before November 29.

IPART is expected to make its decision about the Lismore SRV in May, 2020.

Councillors Greg Bennett and Adam Guise were absent from Tuesday's meeting, as well as Cr Eddie Lloyd who had been granted pre-approved leave.

The council is meeting on Tuesday, November 26 to discuss other agenda items, including this rescission motion if it is deemed legal.



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