TOUGH TIMES: Lismore City Council made some tough decisions to plug their fiscal black hole at their March 19 extraordinary meeting.
TOUGH TIMES: Lismore City Council made some tough decisions to plug their fiscal black hole at their March 19 extraordinary meeting. Alison Paterson

Residents call for council to be sacked if rates increase

RESIDENTS have hit back at Lismore City Council's suggestion of a massive rates increase, with some people calling for the council to be sacked.

Last night the council agreed to embarks on a conversation with the community about the possibility of raising rates over three to five years, starting next year.

The total cumulative percentage increase is 31.4 per cent by 2023-24.

  • 17 per cent in 2020/21, costing the average ratepayer an extra $209
  • 6.9 per cent in 2021/22, costing the average ratepayer and extra $308
  • 2.5 per cent increases in 2022/23 and 2023/24.

But some residents aren't happy with the suggestion they will be digging deep into their pockets to pay for the council's $6.1 million deficit.

Donna Maree Gough wrote on social media she believed the council should have been more responsible with its budget.

"I bet if it was their own money they would have been watching like a hawk what it was being spent on," she wrote.

"Why penalise us for your extremely bad decisions? Instead of us having to pay get rid of a lot of excess expenses you have in your own (council) house."

Damien Schwebel called the council's plan to increase rates "an absolute insult" to residents and businesses.

"In a time where residents and business are already enduring financial hardship our council expects us to compensate for their mismanagement rather than reducing overhead or wasted expenditure," he wrote online.

Meanwhile, Kristy Lawton said she thinks "council needs to be put into receivership".

Robyn Regan-rosieur seemed to agree, stating "LCC needs a broom swept threw it".

But Mayor Isaac Smith said a conversation with the community needs to be had to stop future deficit crisis, similar to the one the council found itself in earlier this year when it was revealed there was a $6 million budget deficit.

"We'll spend the next 12 months talking to the community about what they want to do and putting forward the options and if they think it's a good idea then we'll move ahead with the rate increase," Cr Smith said.

"What we're proposing to talk to them about is about 30 per cent, that includes the rate pegs each year, over a five-year period and that equates to about $1 a day.

"We've done everything we could over the last few years, I think our ratepayers deserve that respect and hard work from council.

"We can't continue to maintain the infrastructure the community loves unless we have a conversation about raising rates."

"You can't keep running a champagne service on a beer budget."