An extraordinary meeting of Lismore Council is being held on Tuesday June 19 and will look at approving a pegged rate rise that will take the ‘Business Inner CBD’ rate up to $0.5.5040 cents in the dollar.
This has drawn criticism from LJ Hooker agent Paul Deegan who was reported in the Northern Star saying that ‘The reason the CBD in Lismore is being slowly strangled, is directly related to the impossible rate burden imposed by Lismore City Council’.
Lismore Mayor responds
While recognising that ‘rates in the Lismore CBD are too high’ Lismore Mayor Isaac Smith said that ‘there are a lot of factors that are causing the traditional main streets to struggle across Australia.’
‘We are only increasing with the rate peg, which I support, as our cost increases with inflation so we can’t hold or reduce rates without cutting services.’
Comparatively the business rate for the Byron Bay CBD is $0.4730 in the dollar however, Mayor Smith said that the ‘rate in the dollar is not a good measure of actual cost as it is linked to property values. Lismore CBD land values have not increased in the past 20 years, so the rate in the dollar looks very expensive when compared to coastal rates which have shrunk with big rises in property values.’
‘Total rates paid are a better measure and should be linked to services provided. We need to be clearer with our businesses about what they get for their money,’ said Mayor Smith.
‘I continue to advocate for more local government independence when it comes to rates and service delivery to our community. We need to empower councils to deliver more at the grassroots to counter the inefficient bureaucracy at the state government level in Australia.’