ON THE RISE: Byron Shire rates are going up.
ON THE RISE: Byron Shire rates are going up. Patrick Gorbunovs

Byron Shire rates are heading north

BYRON Shire residents will see a 7.5% rise over each of the next four years with the owner of an average property having to come up with an extra $377 in rates over the next four years.

"Average business rates will rise by $241 in the first year, while farmland rates will go up by an average of $95,” IPART chairman Dr Peter Boxall said.

The rate increase is to supply the funds to reduce the council's infrastructure backlog and improve financial stability.

Byron Labor's Asren Pugh condemned the rate rise outright.

"Byron Shire will now have the highest rates on the North Coast, putting further pressure on cost of living and housing affordability for the shire's poorest residents,” he said.

"This is a betrayal of our community, who overwhelmingly rejected any additional rate rise during councils so-called consultation.”

Dr Boxall said Byron Shire Council was able to meet the criteria for approval of the special variation by demonstrating a clear need for the additional revenue, that they had appropriately engaged the community about the proposed rate increases, and that they are taking steps to improve productivity and contain costs.

"The council intends to use the additional $11.7 million to be generated over the next four years to fund asset maintenance and renewal, and reduce the local infrastructure backlog,” he said. The application was assessed by IPART against the NSW Government's published criteria, taking into account the council's financial need for the additional revenue, its community consultation on the proposed changes and the capacity and willingness of ratepayers to pay the requested increase.

"Submissions received directly from ratepayers, community groups, business groups and other stakeholders were also considered.

Ocean Shores ratepayer Jim Mangleson said he was bitterly disappointed IPART, "rejected every one of the 42 submissions against any rate increase from Byron Shire residents”.

"Instead they have opted for the 7.5% increase every year for the next four years which translates into a 33% over that time.”

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