Residents angry over Port Stephens Rate Rise Pushing Forward



Dear News Of The Area,

WELL, the majority of councillors did it. They ignored 70% of objectors against a special rate levy increase (SRV) having made their minds up prior to any community consultation and members of our society should view the webcam debate on this subject and see who wants to spend and waste our money.

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We will see increases over $700, $1,000 and over $1,200 on average for our homes over 7 years + CPI increases which will remain beyond the 7 years in perpetuity, also increasing when we next receive our Valuer General’s tri-annual assessment of our land values.

Our Council had worked without a SRV for over 30 years, except for the 3% Drainage Levy cleverly hidden in one sentence during each annual budget report.

Our Council proved that we are Fit for the Future, when 14,000 signatories opposed the NSW Government’s proposed forced Newcastle merger. A forced Newcastle Council merger would have seen us receive an immediate rate increase.

Our Council’s assets include:– $38 million in cash reserves (recent Business Paper); 50% ownership of Newcastle Airport worth around $50 million; numerous buildings in Newcastle also worth tens of millions; vacant land at Salamander Bay, Nelson Bay, Karuah and Williamtown (adjacent to the airport), that we know of; also numerous buildings in Nelson Bay and Raymond Terrace.

A previous land asset sale at Masonite Road, Heatherbrae netted our Council a tidy profit of around $6.5 million.
Our Council needs to work smarter, provide fewer services that we should not be doing and teach our road repair gangs to do a proper job with molten tar with hotmix and more heavy patching, then and only then will our roads come up to a much better standard, especially where it rains incessantly.

Working smarter and keeping out of court will most certainly save us millions as well.

We now need to lobby IPART and the NSW Government Minister for Local Government to oppose this SRV and remain with CPI cost of living increases only.

Brian Watson-Will,

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