Council could face $1.5m shortfall

LISMORE City Council will face a $1.5 million budget shortfall over the next five years if the State Government places restrictions on projects than can be funded by Section 94 developer contributions.

The restriction, which would mean the funds can only be used on essential infrastructure such as sewerage and not community infrastructure like recreational facilities, was due to come into effect on July 1. However, it is understood it has been deferred.

Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell last night successfully proposed a motion to ask the Government to include community infrastructure under the developer contributions.

The motion also called on the Lismore council to reject the Section 94 cap of $20,000 per housing lot in solidarity with other councils, even though Lismore’s average contribution is only $9000.

“The cap doesn’t affect us, but the decision that Section 94 funding can only be used for essential infrastructure does affect us,” Cr Dowell said before last night’s meeting.

“Everyone benefits from community infrastructure that might not be essentially linked to that one development.

“For example, in Dunoon it goes towards the community hall and in Nimbin some developer contributions go towards Peace Park, so we regard it as essential community infrastructure.”

Cr Dowell said the funds were also needed to provide emergency infrastructure for the SES and Rural Fire Service.

She said in addition there would be no developer funds to improve the streetscape with tree plantings once a subdivision was completed.

If the State Government pushes ahead with its plan it may mean the council will be forced to apply to raise household rates next year above the cap.



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