Final info stall on rate rise

COFFS Harbour ratepayers wanting to talk to Coffs Harbour City Council staff about the proposed rate increases for the next two years should drop in to the Harbourside Markets tomorrow.

The council will be hosting its final information stall on this topic from 10am to noon and a council representative will be on hand to answer questions.

For those who have made a close study of the council's 20-page information booklet posted to ratepayers last month, there is an error on page 16 of the booklet, but the council assures this has no effect on the calculation of rates.

The council's director of business services, Andrew Beswick, said the number of properties in each band in the Option B table for Ordinary Farmland Rates at the bottom of page 16 was incorrect.

"The number of properties for each band should be as in the Option A table above. This is additional statistical information only and does not impact the rate calculation for an individual."

Mr Beswick said the rate calculations were still correct, as Ordinary Farmland Rates were the same as Ordinary Residential Rates.

The response postcard that was posted with the information booklet or the online survey needs to be completed and returned to the council by January 30 for your opinion to be included in the survey results.

The postcard survey has two options - no additional rate increase above the expected 3% rate pegging increase or an 8.14% increase for 2015-16 and a 7.75% increase for 2016-17.

These increases would be permanent.

Council staff have responded to criticism of the limited options offered by the postcard survey by saying the result of two community surveys in 2013, a level of service survey and a budget allocator survey showed residents did not want reductions in the level of services provided by the council.

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