Byline: Aisling Brennan Aisling.Brennan@northernstar.com.au
THE countdown is on for Lismore City Council to decide whether it continues its plan to increase rates or scrap the proposed 24 per cent hike.
Last Tuesday, the council voted 5-3 in favour to support a staggered increase of the base rate by 7.5, 9.4, 3.9 and 3.2 per cent over four years, as part of the Special Rates Variation (SRV) to improve the failing roads budget and infrastructure backlog.
However, less than 24-hours later, councillors Nancy Casson, Greg Bennett and Gianpiero Battista lodged a rescission motion to stop the rate increase after concerns the community had been ignored, despite rigorous surveys.
Cr Casson said ratepayers deserved a better solution to solving the problematic road backlog.
"This council has to make the hardcore decision and stop spending money," she said.
"Roads are extremely important; the money is there but it's going in the wrong bucket.
"We've done the analysis and we've done the survey and we're not listening to them."
But Cr Elly Bird, who voted alongside Mayor Isaac Smith and Crs Darlene Cook, Vanessa Ekins and Neil Marks in favour of the SRV, said it was council's responsibility to maintain the roads and the SRV was the...