Council to go ahead with urgent projects

THE newly-approved rate rise for Coffs Harbour City Council means it can now tackle projects it's long had its eyes on.

On Thursday, NSW Local Government Minister Paul Lynch approved the council's application to increase by 2.75 per cent its general income in 2008/2009, above the already-approved 3.2 per cent ratepeg.

Mayor Keith Rhoades said while the council would never be happy to increase rates, it could now go ahead with urgent works.

The 2.75 per cent 'special variation' comprises a 2.5 per cent hike in residential, farmland, CBD business and citywide business rates, and a further 3.5 per cent jump in that citywide business rate.

These increases will fund more than $800,000 worth of projects without, according to the council, requiring further cuts elsewhere in its budget.

The schedule comprises Little Nymboida Bridge replacement ($147,500), Houlahans Bridge Dairyville Road ($226,850), footbridge/boardwalk construction ($55,000), cycleway repairs ($32,900), footpath construction ($212,250), events facilitation ($50,000), CBD seasonal marketing ($30,000), business development workshops ($15,000) and a cultural trails project ($37,300).

“They are all good projects the community has been wanting to see. A lot is being done out there by council ... to get through the backlog of works,” Cr Rhoades said.

The council estimates a $93,865 general account budget deficit for 2008/2009, but intends to deliver a balanced budget by year's end.

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