WITH Port Stephens residents looking down the barrel of a 7.5% rate rise over 7 years there’s plenty for residents to consider.
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70% of respondents to Council’s surveys said that they are against a rate rise with 38% of the submissions saying that affordability is an issue however the vote in Chambers was passed to pursue a 7.5% increase.
Included in the list of forward works is $5 million dollars over a three year period to relocate the Council depots and $2 million dollars has been allocated for a multipurpose arts centre at Raymond Terrace.
A further $6 million dollars is earmarked for Sports Complex Masterplan works at both Tomaree and Raymond Terrace sports fields.
There’s also millions of dollars being proposed for investment into town centres with the lion’s share allocated for Raymond Terrace and Nelson Bay.
Port Stephens Mayor Ryan Palmer has been the driving force behind the proposed rate rise and told News Of The Area, “I’ve had many conversations with our community, at events, sports games, and at the shops and what many are telling me is that they want Port Stephens to grow and prosper.
“I’d encourage everyone to come along to learn more, or make a submission by Friday 21 December 2018,” he said.
Not all Councillors agree with the SRV, Councillor Giacomo Arnott told News Of The Area, “There is an Integrated Planning & Reporting process currently underway, which outlines Council’s proposed projects.”
Cr Arnott believes that the reality for many people is, this extra amount on their rate bill will mean the difference between sending kids to school with enough food for the whole day or just one break.
“It means the difference between getting them new shoes this year, because they’ve outgrown their current ones, or next year because it’s unaffordable this year.”
“Council must live within its means, it is completely unfair that ratepayers are being asked to give up hundreds of dollars per year for infrastructure and projects that are not necessary,” he said.
By Marian SAMPSON