Council will listen over rate rise

LISMORE mayor Jenny Dowell yesterday assured ratepayers Lismore City Council would not go ahead with the proposed 3.5 per cent rate increase if that is the outcome of its extensive community consultation process.

Her comments were sparked by feedback on the consultation website – http://haveyoursaylismore.com.au – that the council had already made up its mind.

“We want the opportunity to tell the community how we came to make the recommendation for a 3.5 per cent increase,” she said.

“We want the community’s opinion after they know the facts. If they then say we don’t like it, but they accept that it has to be done, we will go ahead.

“However, if they say no way we can’t afford it, we will listen and it won’t proceed.”

The council wants to impose a special rate increase of 3.5 per cent on top of the State Government approved 2.6 per cent rise.

As part of the process it has embarked on its biggest community consultation to gauge public opinion. It has already sent letters to ratepayers outlining how the rise will affect individual properties.

Cr Dowell said ratepayers were encourage to write to the council, as well as email and participate in the online forum with computers available at council offices at Goonellabah and the CBD, as well as the Nimbin Visitor Information Centre.

Seven community forums have been also organised, with the first one held at Tregeagle last night.

In another first, the council will hold two deliberative forums of 60 people in late March.



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