8.6 C
Byron Shire
May 16, 2021

Lismore council votes for 26 per cent increase in residential rates

Latest News

Bluesfest announces October dates for 2021 festival

After two disappointing cancelations of their event, Bluesfest has announced that they will hold the 2021 festival over the...

Other News

Re Netflix

David Gilet, Byron Bay You would have to say that the Byron district has more than its fair share of wankers,...

Marvell Hall’s ‘Dangerously Poetic’ fundraiser

This Sunday Marvell Hall will host a tribute to some of the street-named fellows with poetry, music and portraits as a fundraiser for the hall.

A confusion of letters in Ocean Shores

Apparently, there is another Ocean Shores in another part of the world, and they have deer…

Editorial: The vulnerable at risk

Most of us would hope that the taxes we pay go towards key areas such as health, education and to supporting the most vulnerable in our community.

Interview with Cyprien Clerc, Founder and managing Director of Futureseeds

Founder and Managing Director at FutureSeeds, Cyprien Clerc, talks to The Echo about this upcoming event.

Humans suck

Hannah Grace, Ocean Shores I heard on the local news late this afternoon (April 20) that a 370kg tuna ...

Paul Bibby

Lismore Council last night voted for a 26 per cent increase residential rates over four years to fund a major investment in local roads and the reinvigoration of the Lismore CBD.

In a bold move leading up to next year’s elections, the council voted at an extraordinary meeting to ask the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal for permission to introduce a series of rate increases over four years.

Lismore mayor Isaac Smith. (file pic)

The rate increases, which will compound over the four year period, will include a 7.5 per cent increase in 2020-21, 9.4 per cent in the 2021022, 3.9 per cent in 2022-23, and 3.2 per cent in 2023-24.

This equates to a 26 per cent increase in real terms over the course of the period.

Lismore Mayor Isaac Smith said it had been a very hard decision for councillors to make, but there was ‘no alternative’.

‘Since 2012, the community has repeatedly told us two things: they want improved roads and more investment in our CBD, which is critical for local jobs,’ he said.

‘Unfortunately, the only way to find the money for these investments is to ask the State Government for a Special Rate Variation.

‘We have the largest road network of any council in the Northern Rivers, and a maintenance backlog of more than $54 million which has been built up over consecutive councils.

‘None of us want to increase rates but there is no alternative. Over the term of this council we have cut spending by millions of dollars, appointed a new General Manager to put new cost-saving measures in place and, introduced a staff freeze, plus much more.

‘There is nothing left to trim, which means if we didn’t vote for the rise, we would have to cut the essential services that the community wants.

The council will now write to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal, which will make the final decision on whether to approve the increase.

‘If our application is approved, this will be the largest investment in our roads in living memory,’ Cr Smith said.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

21 COMMENTS

  1. Does Council know that the Reserve Bank has set inflation at .75 percent for all of Australia?
    If there is a major investment in local roads then loan institutions could loan Council the money as the interest rates are low.
    Also the Council rates increase is over four years. A road over four years will deteriorate. What happens after four years and the road could be in the same condition as it is in now.
    Why ask ratepayers for the money?

    • and exactly what is the correlation between inflationary rates and Council Rates? Sure, they are both numbers/percentages, but there is no direct correlation between the two.
      I am not defending the Rate increase, but Lismore DOES need to do work on roads – so where does that money come from?
      The roads that LCC has responsibility for are primarily used by locals. There other roads in the Shire that are a State Govt responsibility and are paid for by the State Govt. I don’t think LCC or anyone is suggesting that this is a ‘one-off’ fix for roads. If you look around now, you will see that road maintenance is an ongoing process.
      “Why ask ratepayers for money?”
      You use the roads? Don’t you?
      You expect there to be jobs for your kids?
      You expect there to be a vibrant economy in Lismore?
      It seems to me that people have been screaming for years that Council “do something!”. So, now Council “Does SOMETHING”, you don’t want to pay. Who is to pay? It’s not magic. Where is the money to come from?
      You make a statement and ask ‘why do ratepayers have to pay’ – why not offer some ideas as to how this could be funded in other ways instead of just complain and say “no”? It’s easy to just say no – how about some ideas instead?

      • Everyone is forced to use roads because the State Government has made sure it’s the only form of transport – deductive reasoning would say therefore the State Government should chip in at least half to pay for local roads.

      • Well said. The money needs to come direct from existing state taxes that are redirected to councils to spend as they see fit. No endless council applications for sport or community grants, no begging ministers before an election. Just fund our regions.

        Living off rates income alone is completely unsustainable.

      • Well, for a start scrap all ”investment” in public works of Art. If people are so keen to see stupid rainbow stripes and giant idiot sculptures, let them pay.
        Council stick to your core business.

        And maybe bring your own food to meetings and lunches for ”dignitaries”.
        stop staying in expensive accommodation and having generous expense allowances.

        I am possibly wrong here and you do not qualify as ”troughers”.
        If I am mistaken then I apologise and give you HUGE respect, as the only taxpayer
        funded ”public servants” (dont make me cry)
        who aren’t regularly dipping into the purse for your own enjoyment.
        Going away presents? Have a whip round.
        Christmas functions? Bring a plate.

        We are poor many of us in this lovely town of Lismore.
        Don’t forget it.
        Please.

  2. How about Lismore Council move their offices back to the CBD where they used to be – I think they have about 300 employees – that would mean a lot of people buying lunch, shopping etc in the CBD… as for roads we should be sending the invoices back to the state government who unfairly shifted the burden onto local councils some years ago – none of which can afford the maintenance.

    • Agree, shifted the cost of roads and removed the train, the State Government should pay for at least half the cost of roads. It’s an unfair burden since the 13,000 cars that travel into Lismore to the Council, the Hospital, Government offices, and the University, don’t pay rates in Lismore, they’ve got a wage that affords them to live in nearby Shires

      • Agreed Val Walsh. More Lismore employers should employ local residents first. At peak hour a steady stream of workers drive into Lismore in the morning and out again after work. Local workers spend their money in the local economy. This increases the financial and social vibrancy of Lismore. Loving the dynamic changes to Lismore, great cafés and food outlets popping up and quirky local businesses. Support local by buying local. This is something to which we can all make a contribution.

    • Totally agree about the absence of Council presence in town.
      I have no car, I am old and tired!
      A bus may or may not be due, a cab is a noticeable expense It’s a major hike
      up that hill, and then all the way along that road along the top.

      The out of touch -ness of this council is absurd.

      So, The Council cannot easily be dropped in on…I wonder why not?
      I’ll tell you- it’s because residents of Lismore coming into your offices are an interruption of your busy days,
      and you’d really rather not have to deal with them.

  3. This is a scam and a con by Council, even to the point where only a minority of the Council made the decision, due to absentees.

    The elephant is the fact that Lismore cc are borrowing an in precedentef 32 million for infrastructure support for the north Lismore plateau development ,

    This includes roads, water, sewerage upgrade and the construction of a reservoir for the development,

    At the moment the developer is filling the Dunoon road flood plain to house 900 people, despite the criticism of the OEH that no assessment of the filling was undertaken for neighbouring properties and that the site will be isolated for over 36 hours during 1 in 20
    flood events,

    Council is so out of touch and incompetent
    they should be sacked

    • True, a Forensic Accountant should be appointed and the Council should go into administration IF they are so incompetent as to employ a new GM who sued her previous employer for sexual discrimination, after being left out of decision making. A new GM who in 2019 found a cash deficit of $6.1 million, when in September 2018, the cash deficit was $258,400. The Council chose a candidate because the applicant had little or no experience in local government. The new GM engaged a not so independent consultants, Grey Advantage.

  4. I totally agree with Emily! Also a reminder that wages, welfare & pensions are stagnant and have been for a number of years. I am also stuck with House insurance (premium) rise of 23.62% and the Emergency Service Levy rise of 31.58% (both of which are over last year).
    Also, ICYMI, last (water?) rate rise was because the council did not spend enough on water system maintenance.

  5. As a ratepayer I find this rate increase is most unreasonable . For starters there has been no sensible explanation for the $6M blackhole that has accumulated since the GFC . No proper detailed examination , or at least not explained to rate payers, of how council got into such a mess. The mayor seems to have just flicked it off quite casually in my opinion. It would have been most appropriate if the Mayor had brought rate payers along with a proper discussion about what had happened. I would be more sympathetic to an extraordinary rate rise. The other thing is LGA is one of the most impoverished in the state , rate payers in many instances on quite low incomes barely able to pay the existing rate. 26% compounded to over 4 years means my rates go from $2256 to $2842 in the 4th year . That’s a $587 pa increase . I suspect rate payers aren’t going to be happy.

    • Appears Lismore Council Rates are 4th highest in the state for a region over 10,000 population and that ranking includes Sydney.
      Some ballpark figures just for comparison of the region are;
      North Coast NSW Rate Revenues
      Lismore
      $14.5mill from 14K residences
      $4.5mill from 1K businesses
      Byron
      $10mill for 12K residences
      $3mill for 1K businesses
      Ballina
      $9.5mill from 14.5K residences
      $2.5mill from 2.2K businesses
      Tweed
      $33.3mill from 35K residences
      $4mill from 1.8K businesses
      Clarence Valley
      $17.2mill from 22K residences
      $1.7mill from 1.3K businesses
      Kyogle
      $1.8mill from 2.8K residences
      $201k from 224 businesses
      What isn’t included in any figures is how many employed people in Lismore aren’t rate payers in Lismore. Or, put another way, the costs of road maintenance and services that are impacted upon by people working in Lismore but paying rates in surrounding Shires.

  6. IPart needs to be given the genuine accounts of how much money Lismore Council collects, including the recent 4% water cost rise. IPart could not approve this rise on top of the annual IPart rises that Council has adopted in full every year, not to mention the special rate variation of 10% on businesses, for a decade, that had no accountability. No IPart is bound to reject this rate rise proposal if the Council includes the interest it receives from financial hardship rate payments, a discretionary and not formal written approval process. The money Council charges for waste water is a fixed amount that exceeds the amount actually used by rate payers and exceeds the actual cost of sewage and waste water, that money goes into General coffers and is not counted as rate profits; then there’s the amount of water supply fees where the land is undeveloped, or water not connected, also the amount charged for recycled waste levy that hasn’t been used for recycling, where waste has been transported elsewhere and a toxic fire disposed of much of the waste. Also IPart needs to consider that Lismore Council is one of the few councils that doesn’t have even one kerbside pick up annually, to assist the high percentage of seniors and 24% of people with disabilities, people who have no means of transporting old, or unwanted possessions – people have the burden of paying a labourer, Ute, and waste fees. Doesn’t happen in other Councils. IPart needs also to take into account the grants and $2.5 million for asbestos remediation that was granted after that cost was included in the last IPart rate rise approval. IPart also needs to consider the cost of car registration and petrol, on a demographic of high unemployment, welfare recipients, seniors, and disabilities- and the fact that there is no other for of transport other than roads, and that the State Government should contribute to road maintenance as a result of them scrapping the train, a burden that residents have paid for in rate rises.
    If IPart does approve a rate rise it needs to be on the condition that it isn’t used for a GM and Senior Executives wage increase, and Council employees don’t get a wage rise, in that same period.
    IPart needs to be informed that no genuine public consultation was held, no notice was sent out with rates notices, people who don’t pay rates were able to skew results, the questions were loaded, there was no real choices and people were forced to choose between a pegged rise, or SRV rise that NO rate rise was not an option. A false survey outcome.

  7. More state taxes need to be diverted directly to local councils. Maybe stamp duty, or GST. Scrounging to fund all local services and roads from local rates while the state government either hoards the money or splurges it before an election is completely unacceptable. The people of NSW need to wake up.

  8. I support George Pick’s point about what caused the $6 million hole in the Councils finances .
    This has not been adequately addressed.
    Council should cut it’s cloth to suit it’s purse.
    I foresee a Class Action .

  9. A General Manager as the real honcho in local Councils is there to work for the United Nations and Agenda 2030 (2021). Essentially it is communist and run from London City.
    LCC charges a urusious 8% on late rates. It lost a lot of money (not as much as Gosford) in the GFC in 2008 to the Lehman Brothers. that was gambling with other peoples money and the General Manager then was gambling on a ridiculous mathematical formula that said that banks would never lose lending money to people who had no chance of paying their mortgages and it all replying on the ponzi scheme of forever rising real estate prices.
    Council will spend more and more money on Cultural marxist endevours like sexual identity politics (anything BUT normal), mass migration of low IQ ‘refugees’ whose supply is limitless, and global warming panic when the science is not proven and ballina is not yet underwater all the time like the King tides that sometimes happen.
    In any case, it is anything but local politics and fixing holes in the road.
    If the federal govenrment printed it’s own money for nothing instead of borrowing it from banksters at interest who print it from thin air themselves, there could easily be a 40% CUT in rates and no less services for it.
    Germany got a lot done in the 1930’s getting largely off the Cartel’s Rackets.

  10. The ratepayers of Lismore cannot afford an increase of this magnitude, put forward by a council that has lost control of its finances and is bereft of any ideas as to how to fix it.

    The best outcome would be for the current council to be sacked, an administrator appointed to sort out the mess, ahead of the fresh council elections in September next year.

    Ratepayers can show their support by signing this petition http://chng.it/HHw2mFk2

  11. The rate increase is a 24% increase on the base rate only. Not on the whole annual rate amount, which includes other types of rates such as water, sewage etc. If you check your rates notice, and your base rate is $500 out of a rates total of $2500, that $500 will increase by the following (approximately)

    Year 1: by 7.5% to $537.50
    Year 2 by a further 9.4% to $588.03
    Year 3: by a further 3.9% to $610.51
    Year 4″ by a further 3.2% to $630.51
    Total increase (24%) over 4 years = $130 (= extra $32.63 per year or about 9 cents per day)

    Not 24% of the whole $2500, which would be $600.

    Not widely understand by those screaming about an exorbitant rate rise!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Power outage in Byron Shire

Power supply company Essential Energy says that approximately 1,780 homes and businesses were without supply this morning.

Filming of Byron Baes begins with no indigenous consultation

Filming of the Netflix series Byron Baes has reportedly commenced without any effort made by the show's production company – Eureka Productions – to consult with local indigenous groups or the local Council.

Byron Comedy Festival launched with a laugh

At a hilarious sold-out launch of the Byron Comedy Festival, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki had the entire Byron Bay Surf Club giggling last night

School Strike for Climate next Friday

Next Friday from 10am Byron Shire students will be demanding political action on the climate emergency in what they and their supporters say is our present, future and reality.