Stephen Sawtell and Craig Milburn speaking to a small audience on Monday night
Stephen Sawtell and Craig Milburn speaking to a small audience on Monday night

Residents ignore rate rise meeting

RESIGNED apathy was the description given by one citizen to the underwhelming turnout of just 13 residents for the first of four community information sessions on a proposed rate rise for Coffs Harbour.

The citizens were outnumbered by the five Coffs Harbour City Councillors, five council staff members and two journalists who attended the meeting, held to explain the proposed 4.4 per cent general rate rise to fund a flood mitigation program for the city, making a total rate rise of 7.7 per cent in 2010.

Council has estimated the typical residential property would pay an extra $112.06

Mayor Keith Rhoades and general manager Stephen Sawtell stressed that all the money raised by the proposed rate rise was purely and simply to fund flood mitigation projects and the council could not afford to wait for other levels of government to act on the problem.

In addition to personal site queries, questions asked included whether the RTA and ARTC would share costs for work associated with the highway and rail bridges; how long the rate rise was for (10 years); whether retention basin maintenance was part of planning (yes); whether provisions were being made for Park Beach and Bray St (council is looking at plans); whether creek clearing would be part of the draft management plan (hopefully within a year) and whether drainage problems outside the Coffs Harbour catchment were being considered (26 out of 44 identified trouble spots are outside Coffs).

Two more meetings will be held next week at 6pm on Tuesday at Sawtell CWA Hall and at 7pm on March 31 at the Woolgoolga Community Village.

Full details on the rate variation proposal are available at www.coffsharbour.nsw.gov.au and online submissions can be made via the website or by email to coffs.council@chcc.nsw.gov.au with subject line ‘special rate variation’ or by normal mail.

Submissions open until April 19. Inquiries 6648 4444.



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