Chamber prepared for fight

WOOLGOOLGA Chamber of Commerce has launched another salvo over proposed council rate rises, with chamber president Greg Ray claiming he'll take the battle to Sydney himself if he has to.

The chamber has written to Minister for Local Government, Paul Lynch, outlining reasons why Coffs Harbour City Council's proposed extraordinary rate rise should not be approved.

Mr Lynch, who has already pegged council rate rises next financial year to 3.2 per cent, has the power to either approve or reject the council's extraordinary request for an additional 6 per cent rise, taking the total for the year to 9.2 per cent.

That's too much, according to the Woolgoolga Chamber of Commerce, and president Greg Ray said he'd go to Sydney to meet the minister if he thinks it will help the chamber's case.

"The rate rise would result in job losses and business closures," Mr Ray said.

"We've warned the minister that granting such a rise would set a precedent other councils would want to follow, setting off an inflationary spiral."

The chamber has asked the minister to reject the council application, but if the minister believes there is a genuine need for an extraordinary increase, the chamber submits that it should be no greater than 1.8 per cent.

"That would bring the total rise to 5 per cent, which is significantly greater than the current rate of inflation," Mr Ray said.

"We are not opposed to a rate rise, however any increase should be fair, reasonable and equitable.

"The application for an extraordinary rise of 6 per cent, in addition to the 3.2 per cent pegged allowance, meets none of those criteria."

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