Lismore rate rise a step closer

Lismore City Council will be asking ratepayers and business people what they think of a special rate variation for an increase of rates of $800,000.

With yearly rate-pegging (the CPI increase), the average householder can expect to pay an extra $205 on their rates and water, which includes the special rate variation of $30.

Council is asking for the increase so it can spend an extra $500,000 on roads, $200,000 for an environmental levy and $100,000 on business promotion.

Cr Peter Graham moved a motion for deferring until December 2010, saying he didn’t feel the timing was right for an increase.

“It’s all a tax, at the end of the day our rate-payers are being asked to pay an exorbitant amount of money,” Cr Graham said.

“In the last three months we have received a quarter of a percent rise in interest rates. It’s time to start managing our assets and sell things when times are hard.

“They way I read it, if we don’t get $4.5 million for the Olley (arts centre) then we won’t need a rate increase.”

Cr Jenny Dowell pointed out from the chair that, as printed in the business paper, the rate rise had nothing to do with the Olley but Cr Graham was undeterred.

“Kevin Rudd wants to tax us with a huge environmental levy. We could get federal funding for this when the ETS is in place then we won’t need to tax our ratepayers a thing. Look how many vacant shops we have... these rates in Lismore city are more than double that of Casino or Ballina.”

Cr Isaac Smith said he’d spoken to the chairman of the Lismore Chamber of Commerce, whose board supported a rate increase.

Cr Graham’s motion for deferral was lost 6/4, so Cr Yarnall moved for consultation on a rise, which was won 7/3 (Crs Neil Marks, Peter Graham and Graham Meineke against).

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