Pockets hit again with rate rise

HIP pockets in Nambucca Shire will feel the pinch this coming financial year as residents absorb the final of four 1.3 per cent special rate variations.

The variation, designed to pay for the shire's $5 million road and bridge restoration loan, means rates will rise by 4.6 per cent instead of the State government's pegged 3.5 per cent rate, if approved by the NSW minister for local government.

Councillors and staff battled their way through a wish list that exceeded available funds by $2.6 million to achieve a budget bottom line surplus of $29,500.

Mayor Rhonda Hoban said the job had required some pretty tough decisions.

“It was a pretty difficult task to pare requests back for a balanced budget,” Cr Hoban said.

The maintenance of shire halls will continue with an extra $32,000 allocation however hall committees of management will be receiving letters advising them there is no capital funding available and any improvements will have to be funded through grants. A proposal to provide $50,000 towards the upgrade of Argents Hill Hall was cut from the budget.

However the shire band's request for a $1000 increase to the council's $3000 annual contribution was accepted.

Cr Paula Flack argued that given the tight financial times the increase was not justified.

“The band does a fantastic job however $3000 is still a generous annual contribution,” Cr Flack said.

“I do this with knocking knees...but given the number of slips and potholes we have to repair and the economic climate, I'm sure the band would understand.” Her motion was defeated.

The draft budget was passed with only Cr Mike Moran voting against it.

  • Waste management - $440. It is anticipated this will rise to $469 in 2010/2011 and $483 the following year after which it should remain stable.
  • Water and sewerage charges will increase by nine per cent and 14 per cent respectively, in line with the NSW government's best practice requirements.

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