Council moves to rate rise
COFFS Harbour City councillors voted 7-2 on Thursday to approve an application for a special rate variation to fund flood mitigation and drainage work around the city.
The council will apply for a 4.4 per cent increase on top of the 2.6 per cent rate pegging limit for 2010/11.
If approved, the seven per cent increase would mean an average residential property can expect a total rate increase, including annual and usage charges, of about $112.06 a year or $2.16 a week, which is a 4.45 per cent increase from 2009/10.
The additional $1,281,000 in rate income generated would partly fund another loan borrowing of $6 million to be spent on further flood mitigation and to be repaid over 10 years.
Repayments are estimated at $897,000 at 8.5 per cent, with the $384,000 balance and the remaining $25,000 from the Storm Water Levy to go towards the council’s drainage improvement works program.
The move was approved by the mayor Cr Keith Rhoades and Crs Bill Palmer, Jennifer Bonfield, Denise Knight, Kerry Hines, Paul Templeton and John Arkan but opposed by Crs Mark Graham and Rodney Degens.
Cr Graham said his opposition was based on two things – the proposal’s lack of equity and the fact he was not assured that the proposed measures would solve ‘any or all of the problems’ of flooding.
Cr Graham said the proposed development of 130 lots at the airport and the extent of residential development throughout the entire Boambee catchment posed ‘a massive additional risk to life and property – and a potential liability for council’.
But Cr Bill Palmer had a different view.
“It’s a couple of Freddo frogs or a middy of beer a week,” he said.
Cr Bonfield said if nothing was done to protect the city its tourist and business reputation would be tarnished.
Mr Sawtell said the plan was spread across a lot of areas and Boambee and Newports Creek were ‘absolutely’ high priority areas for flood studies. Four ‘engagements’ will be held to gauge community support on the proposed rate rise – in the City Centre; Toormina, Woolgoolga and Nana Glen.
Coffs Harbour City Council already has a standard survey form on its website for online submissions and residents can also mail or fax submissions.