Letter to the Editor - November 29: Irate about rate rise

I THINK we possibly live in the most expensive regional city in NSW.

Why? We pay more in groceries, petrol and council rates than any other area of NSW and possibly anywhere in regional Australia. And, now I'm fuming in the fact that Coffs City Council is wanting a whooping rate increase of 16.5%.

In their 'Funding Our Future' information document on page 11, they compare our 2014/15 general rates with nine other similar sized councils. Port Stephens is one of the nine that we are compared to, it has a population of 64,800 (2011 Census) and an area of 979 km2 (378.0 sq mi). Coffs Harbour's population is 68,413 (2011 Census) and an area of 1175 km2 (453.7 sq mi).

Although the two councils are of similar population and area, their overall residential rates charges are not. Friends who live on the water in Port Stephens with uninterrupted ocean views pay rates of $2680 on a land value of $600,000. My overall Coffs City Council rates is $2979 based on the land value of $288,000 and I don't have water views. Both blocks are of similar size.

Wollongong and Newcastle are cities that are also being used to compare. Wollongong's population in 2011 was 192,418 and covers an area of 684 km2. City of Newcastle is 148,535 (2011) and covers an area of 187 km2. Fact is that these two cities aren't of similar size to that of Coffs City Council, this comparison is misleading.

The general manager and Mayor need to ask themselves why our council compares poorly to other councils and must beware that ratepayers are already paying too much.

It's already a struggle to pay the current rates. Ratepayers need to make a noise and say no.

Beth Agland



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