TENTERFIELD Shire and Armidale Dumaresq Shire residents will likely see their rates rise in the next year.
Tenterfield Shire wants to increase rates by 15 per cent this year and Armidale Dumaresq Shire wants a 20 per cent rise.
Tenterfield mayor Peter Petty said the council wanted to raise rates by 15 per cent in the first year and seven per cent for three years after that.
A report into the financial state of councils regarded Tenterfield Shire as weak and unsustainable and recommended that if they couldn’t improve their financial state, they amalgamate with Glen Innes Severn Shire.
“Amalgamating two struggling councils is not the answer,” Cr Petty said.
The extra funds will be for maintaining roads, the bridge program, main street program and aleyards, infrastructure and community buildings.
Cr Petty said council had held community meetings in Legume, Liston, Drake and Tenterfield and was pleased with the attendances.
Armidale Dumaresq Shire mayor Laurie Bishop said they wanted a 20 per cent one-off rate rise, which would last for seven years.
“We’ve been robbing Peter to pay Paul for a number of years and to prop up an infrastructure backlog. We need to seek a special once-off rate rise to maintain infrastructure,” he said.
Cr Bishop said they’d have community meetings and would present three options to IPART: – make an application for no rate rise; a 10 per cent rise in the first year then a second 10 per cent in the second year and hold it at that rate for seven years; and a 20 per cent in the first year.
“There is no point in trying to delay the inevitable, we really need to get into this,” he said.
“I’ve visited several local area community groups, told them about the financials and gauged their input. While they may not be entirely supportive, they recognise there is a need.”
Country folk are doing it a little tougher than the city folk with prices down, a lot of brown grass around at the moment, they would prefer to see a ramp-up, but what’s a good time in a farmer’s life to increase rates?”