Councillors say residents have no heart for $6 levy
A PROPOSAL for a special rate increase of $6 next year to boost Lismore's marketing budget now looks unlikely, with Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell openly against the move along with several other councillors.
In a council briefing last night on council's long-term financial planning, Cr Dowell said a rate increase would be "pre-empting" the views of the public as expressed via the Imagine Lismore community consultation.
"I think that it's putting too much fear into our residents that 'here we go again, yet another rate increase'," Cr Dowell said.
The proposed rate increase would charge 17,000 general ratepayers between $1 and $20 per annum to raise an extra $100,000 for the Lismore Business Promotion Panel.
That would be additional to the $300,000 the marketing panel already receives from Lismore urban businesses via a special rate charge.
Cr Isaac Smith, council's representative on the promotion panel, said he was disappointed the proposal was unlikely to proceed.
Cr Smith said preliminary feedback from an SCU survey about the Come to the Heart campaign indicated residents were "very positive" about CBD marketing efforts.
"They're telling us they like the service and they want to see it continue to improve, and I think they would be willing to pay for that, and I'm certainly willing to put it to consultation to ask them," Cr Smith said.
But both Cr Dowell and Cr Vanessa Ekins said the onus was still on businesses in Lismore to "lift their game" in helping to sell the town, and Cr Dowell even had some specific advice.
"Spruce up your shopfront, clean your windows every day, make sure your customer service is as good as it can be - get with it," she said.