Public meetings will be held across Ballina shire in coming days as the council attempts to sell its proposal to increase rates to improve its pools.
The Ballina Shire Council wants to increase rates by 5.5 per cent for 2015/16 and 2016/17 to help fund upgrades to the Ballina and Alstonville swimming pools.
The council’s proposal is for two increases of 2.5 per cent on top of the standard rate-pegging figure, which is expected to be 3 per cent.
The extra money from the rate rise would be used to repay loans.
This means council will be applying for a 5.5 per cent increase for both years, with the increases remaining throughout the 15 years of the life of the loans.
To discuss the proposal, public meetings will be held at the Lennox Head Cultural and Community Centre, October 7 at 7pm; the Alstonville Leisure and Entertainment Centre, October 8 at 7pm; and Ballina Shire Council Chambers, October 9 at 7pm.
The public meetings are part of a community engagement strategy to satisfy a requirement from the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART), which determines rate variations.
The strategy will also include: fact sheets; information on the council’s website; letters to residents; advertising; a community survey; the public meetings in Ballina, Lennox Head and Alstonville; and meetings with key stakeholders.
Bad idea! Why not raise the price of entry rather than impose rates hikes on those who don’t use the pools at Ballina and Alstonville?
There’s a larger than normal elderly demographic in the region, people who will rarely use the pools. They are largely pensioners on fixed incomes who have enough trouble paying rates of around $2,000 a year to live in their own homes. Any rates rise will impinge on their standards of living.
It’s great to see a council engaging with the broader community to obtain their input. It would be interesting to understand the demographics and what percentage of the community use the current Ballina and Alstonville pools.