MITCH Farlow, owner of Evans Head Butchery is concerned about rate rise.
MITCH Farlow, owner of Evans Head Butchery is concerned about rate rise. Brenden Allen

No joy for coast residents as council hikes rates

EVANS Head butcher Mitch Farlow is looking at paying local government an extra $2000 if Richmond Valley Council's proposed unified rate system goes ahead.

Mr Farlow said the increase included rates payable on his residence and his butcher shop.

"It makes everything bloody hard," he said.

"Rates on the business will jump 81 per cent and rates on my unit will jump 40 per cent.

"I don't know how they can justify that."

Council's proposed unified rate structure is an antidote to a rate system left over from the amalgamation of Casino Council and Richmond River Shire Council in 2001.

In the old system most of council's ratepayers pay residential rates and most residents live in Casino.

Rates are calculated using the old system and old land values.

The proposed system will reduce Casino's rates and increase rates on properties towards the coast.

As an example average rates for businesses in Casino will decrease by 26 per cent while rates for businesses in Evans Head will increase by 81 percent.

Average residential rates in Casino will decrease by 16 per cent but in Evans Head will increase by 39 per cent. A council's fact sheet explains the restructure will not increase council's rate income.

Mayor Charlie Cox said the proposal was prompted by complaints that coastal residents paid the same rates as Casino residents.

"We are responding to them," he said.

Cr Cox said three public meetings were held at Evans Head, Woodburn and Coraki with the final meeting to be held at Casino's Civic Hall tomorrow at 6pm.

He said the proposal would be put to a meeting of council on May 6.

Evans Head and District Ratepayers Association president Richard Gates said the rates model used by Clarence Valley Council was more equitable.

"Most of Evans Head's population are retirees on the pension and this proposal is horrendous for them," he said.

"The value of their property does not ensure their capacity to pay increased rates.

"I think people will sell up and move and then developers will move in picking places that have one house on a block.

"Then instead of one house we will have six units on a block. It will alter the social structure."


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