Council decides on 1-year rate increase

COFFS Harbour City Council has abandoned proposed rate hikes stretching over five years.

Instead, it will ask for State Government approval to increase rates for 2008/2009 only by 2.5 per cent on top of the 3.2 per cent rate pegging allowance.

The categories are residential, farmland and city centre business rates, while the council proposes an additional six per cent rise in the citywide business rate.

The council says these increases will fund $674,500 worth of bridge repairs, footpath, footbridge and boardwalk construction and cycleway repairs, while business rate hikes would help fund $132,300 for economic development.

Cr Ian Hogbin told Thursday's council meeting the council had not shown why it needed the additional revenue for the five years from 2009/2010, and should drop the proposal.

"We're upping it (rates) for the next five years without a coherent plan. It's a silly move," Cr Hogbin said.

He also said for the council to 'continue to grow this city', ratepayers had to recognise some service levels would have to be reduced.

Cr Bill Palmer, meanwhile, said the council was attending to its infrastructure program but was not making headway 'when it comes to the run of the mill things'.

He also said if the council chose not to spend money on events in the city, businesses would miss out on millions of dollars.

Cr Clive Joass, who opposed any rate increases, said the council had not consulted properly with community.

"You can't keep putting the rates up all the time," he said.

The deputy mayor, Cr Rod McKelvey, said the council had to consider the capacity of the community to pay increased rates.

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