New councillors tackle rates issue

By Toby Walker

The Clarence Valley would be divided up into seven separate residential zones and five separate commercial zones to determine rate payments under a rating restructure proposed to the Clarence Valley's newly-elected council yesterday.

A differential rate structure for home and business owners was just one of numerous issues discussed at a councillors' workshop at the Clarence Valley Council's Maclean offices.

The workshop was one of a number of meetings planned for the next few weeks to allow council's executive management to present overviews of the financial and organisational issues the newly-elected councillors will be dealing with in the coming months.

Perhaps one of the most pressing decisions to be made by council will be the ratification of a new rating structure for Clarence Valley ratepayers.

Many residents are concerned the recent spike in land valuations, particularly in coastal areas, will translate into higher rates across the entire Clarence Valley.

While Mayor Ian Tiley conceded a rates hike was likely and that the differential rating structure would probably be unpopular at first, he said it was the most fair and equitable way to go.

"I know that a lot of work in the background has gone into modelling to have like-areas put together and to use rates in the dollar so that we can, as much as possible, get a uniform increase across the whole Clarence Valley shire," he said.

"What we can't mitigate against is where you have in a particular town ? and we saw Minnie Water as an example ? a huge (land valuation) increase in one part of the town and a small increase in another part of town.

"We're obligated to use the rate in the dollar across the whole town and that creates some anomalies."

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