Kyogle Council sticks with 2.6pc rise

KYOGLE area residents will only face a 2.6 per cent rate rise in the next financial year after Kyogle Council decided not to pursue a much higher increase.

Yesterday's extraordinary council meeting addressed the ongoing issue of sewerage management in the Kyogle area, but decided it would no longer request an above rate-pegging increase.

NSW councils are restricted to a 2.6pc rate increase for 2010-11, but the Kyogle Council had previously applied for a 5pc increase to allow it to tackle a number of pressing sewerage management issues.

However, despite budget pressures and the need to undertake pressing works, the council voted unanimously not to pursue the additional rates increase.

“The decision means we won't be putting too much of a strain on residents,” Cr Lindsay Passfield said.

However, Cr Tom Cooper believes the council will struggle to find additional funds within the budget to do all that needs to be done.

“All that's going to happen is further services will be reduced,” he said.

“If we have savings we should identify them now and not at the expense of taking other services away from our residents.”

Meanwhile, residents with septic systems will be charged a $35 on-site sewerage management charge to fund a feasibility study that will look into implementing sewerage systems in Old Bonalbo, Mallanganee, Tabulam and Wiangaree

“In the future there may be the opportunity to reduce that cover charge, but I struggle to find another way for this to be funded,” mayor Ross Brown said.

“I understand the concerns. We have been talking about it for a long time and something needs to be done.”

Cr Passfield voiced the concerns of farmers who do not need new sewerage systems.

“The principle is we have 2700 septic systems, with around 200 of those in the villages, and this proposes we have them all contribute to a fund to do a feasibility study, but 2500 people will never benefit,” he said.

“I see no benefit to the farmers out there who install their own systems.”

Originally, the on-site sewerage management annual charge was to be $40 for those with septic tanks, but councillors voted to reduce this to $35, conditional on government approval.

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