News

SRV: 'We had no other choice'

Karen Toms at the meet the canddiates forum at Maclean Services ClubPhoto Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner
Karen Toms at the meet the canddiates forum at Maclean Services ClubPhoto Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner Adam Hourigan

CHOKING back tears, Clarence Valley councillor Karen Toms was among the councillors who backflipped on their election promises not to hike up Clarence Valley rates.

The Special Rate Variation was again centre stage at Tuesday's council meeting, with seven councillors voting to pass on a 25.9% total rate rise to property owners over three years.

A pre-election survey by The DEX pinned four councillors against the SRV and only two, Cr Debrah Novak and Cr Greg Clancy, remained true to their word.

Cr Toms said voting for the SRV was a hard pill to swallow.

"I made declarations that I wanted better financial management and I wouldn't support the SRV and I wouldn't support excessive rate increase," she said.

"But I've had to change that position.

"When I had that position, I truly meant it... but now I have a lot more information and after a full day with the Office of Local Government (I have changed my mind)."

Cr Toms said despite the community backlash, the councillors had to make the decision.

"It's easy to criticise, people think we do the wrong thing, but the reality is that the councillors make the best decisions they can," Cr Toms said.

"I did change my mind over the SRV and that was also a very difficult decision to make, but I have to make it and I do believe I didn't have a choice."

The adopted recommendation included a detailed report which outlined that from 2017/18 to 2019/20, the council would make $15,566,987, which is more than the council's total debt of $15,343,127. The rates rise is to be rolled out 8% each year over three years which will amount to an expected total of $7.8million in revenue to come from the SRV.

Seven of the nine councillors voted for the SRV recommendation.

It will go to community consultation at the May council meeting.

Cr Novak stood by her election promise of not voting for the SRV because that was what the community wanted but also praised how the decision-making progress was handled.

"I was grateful for all the workshops because I have so much more knowledge now than what I had six months ago," Cr Novak said.

"The directors and the acting general manager have laid everything out on a plate for us so we can make an informed decision."

Cr Peter Ellem said the council had no choice but to make the unpopular decision.

"I believe that it is the shared responsibility of the nine duly-elected councillors, and not that of a financial controller or administrator, to adopt a draft package of job cuts, to be made in full consultation with the United Services Union, efficiency savings, and regrettably rate increases, to be put up for community consultation," Cr Ellem said.

"As a new councillor I am wiser because we have demanded and recently received more detailed information on the operational side of things, and greater clarity from the Office of Local Government."

Cr Ellem said fixing the $15million "black hole" which the new council has inherited from a "clunky forced amalgamation" needed addressing.

"My personal preference would be for the SRV component of this suite of measures to be lower than the 8% per year, but when we consult with ratepayers and residents in coming months it will become clear that a lower SRV will mean deeper cuts to local jobs and valued, if not cherished, services," he said.

Topics:  clarence valley council debrah novak karen toms peter ellem special rate variation srv



LADIES: You're invited to a much-needed time out!

Coolangatta/Tweed tenpin bowling centre.
Photo: John Gass / Tweed Daily News

Grab your friends and come out for a night of fun

Should 4WDs still be allowed on beaches?

NOT SO FUN: A bogged Toyota LandCruiser at Brooms Head.

Bogged 4WD at popular beach digs up sticky question

High Abilities takes over the Jaca

READY TO ROCK: The High Abilities group will be playing at the Jacaranda Hotel on Friday night in support of Living Proof.

High Abilities heads to the Jacaranda Hotel

Local Partners

Dreamworld may supersize with 'Disneyland expansion'

OWNERS of icon Gold Coast theme park Dreamworld want to super-size the site with accommodation and entertainment to turn it into Australia’s Disneyland.

World’s strongest man reveals incredible 12,000 calorie diet

Brian Shaw won his 4th World's Strongest Man title. Source: Twitter

World’s strongest man reveals incredible 12,000-calorie diet

High Abilities takes over the Jaca

READY TO ROCK: The High Abilities group will be playing at the Jacaranda Hotel on Friday night in support of Living Proof.

High Abilities heads to the Jacaranda Hotel

Artists wanted to give gallery a spray

Detail from Kade Valja and Matthew Brydon's work at the gallery.

Artists wanted for mural

ABC2 slammed over football exhibition match coverage

Fans weren't too happy with ABC2's coverage of Wednesday night's game.

ABC2 slammed for coverage of soccer exhibition match

'Bulls--t!' Lisa Wilkinson grilled over Karl's pay packet

Join us for a Great Night as we Proudly present Lisa Wilkinson

“And you believe everything you read?”

Rebel Wilson trial: The secret we never could have known

Rebel Wilson outside court

“Most people wouldn’t know it exists,” she said.

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

One of Maryborough's most historic homes is still for sale

FULL OF HISTORY: Trisha Moulds is owner of the historic Tinana state known as Rosehill. The beautiful home is currently for sale.

It has been the scene of both joy and tragedies over the years.

The face of the Sunshine Coast's overpriced rental crisis

Alyx Wilson had to rent a $385 unit in Currimundi because the market was too competitive for cheaper rental housing. She is now renting a room from friends who own a house in Currimundi, and says its much more affordable.

Young people feel the strain in competitive, expensive rental market

WATCH: Take a tour of a tradie's dream home

5a Bruce Hiskens Court, Norman Gardens, going for $720,000. INSET: Lea Taylor.

Huge block with potential for anything

REVEALED: Where it's cheaper to pay off a mortgage than rent

6/190 Ewing Rd, Woodridge, is listed for offers $215,000. Picture: realestate.com.au

Brisbane suburbs where it is cheaper to buy than rent

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!