Lismore Councils extra rate rise

A PROPOSAL to increase Lismore’s residential rates by about 3.5 per cent above the usual annual rise will be discussed at the council’s December meeting.

If adopted and approved by the State Government this would take the total rate rise for 2010/11 to slightly more than 7pc.

The additional increase would fund road and environmental projects and raise about $800,000 annually, the council’s finance manager Rino Santin said at a council workshop this week.

The council had previously asked for a staff report on options to increase income beyond the State Governments 3.5pc rate rise cap.

Although staff were told to consider a special rate rise of 6.7pc, staff are expected to recommend the lower amount.

The proposal equates to about an extra $60 a year and will take average rates to $1036 from $972.

Half a million dollars of the extra funds would be earmarked for improvements to roads annually with another $200,000 allocated to environmental projects. The remaining $100,000 would be used to promote the CBD.

Speaking at the meeting Cr David Yarnall said the council currently spends about $7 million a year on road maintenance and a further $1.6 million, matched by the RTA, constructing new roads.

The funds from the Environment levy would be used to develop and implement the council’s biodiversity strategy, climate change adaptation and mitigation, improved public transport, support improved water catchment management and sustainability planning.

Lismore Council last received a special rate variation in 1996.

Mr Santin said the staff report would not recommend an increase in rates to pay for the council’s $4.4 million plan to improve the area’s cycleways as much of this could be sourced from State and Federal government grants.

As reported by The Northern Star last week nearly twice the numbers of Lismore residents are having difficulty in paying their rates, with more than 10pc of households failing to pay rates on time.

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