Ratepayers use web for discussions

A NEW Facebook page Clarence Valley Rate Payers is calling on Valley residents to raise and discuss local issues so the group can make submissions to the council.

Established earlier this week by Clarence Valley Youth Initiative chairman Ursula Tunks, the site had 73 members late yesterday and has already asked ratepayers if garbage collection should be charged on a user-pays basis.

The poll was running four votes in favour of user-pays and two against as of yesterday but the question generated 19 comments.

The cost of implementing such a system was raised and one user said a similar system was already in place for commercial recycling collection, which meant it may be able to be done without major cost.

Another topic of discussion was the way rates were calculated, which generated four responses.

Ms Tunks described the site as " a think tank for ratepayers".

"We'll see how it evolves from that," she said. "Ideally I would like to get as many people contributing as possible and start feeding some of the discussion and concepts back to the council.

"We probably need to throw around some ideas of how best to conduct the feedback to the council.

Councillor Margaret McKenna has joined the group to inform it that Ulmarra and South Grafton residents/ratepayers groups had been established.

"I think one of the great benefits of social networking on the internet is that it breaks down the social isolation created by geographical distance," Ms Tunks said.

"That's why I believe we need this forum - it is one of the few ways we can be inclusive of all the Clarence Valley ratepayers/residents ... it's early days - but I'm keen to see how it evolves."

She said Clarence Valley Council elections were next year so this was a good way to bring issues of concern to councillors.

Asked if she planned on running for council, Ms Tunks said she had not made a final decision but she certainly had not ruled it out.

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