Cessnock Green Councillors Oppose $2.5m Rate Increase Proposal

Green Councillors James Ryan and Chris Parker have condemned Cessnock Council for asking the community to support a rate increase of up to $2.5m to pay for roadworks when the Council is  yet release an independent report detailing the council’s performance in relation to the roads in the LGA.

Cessnock Council last night voted to put on public display option to increase rates  from $1.4m to $2.5m per year.

Clr Ryan said ‘I think it is a bit rich to ask Cessnock ratepayers to pay up another $2.5m a year when Council have not made public an independent assessment of our roadwork.  I think people are entitled to know how effectively their money is being spent before we ask them for more.’

‘The report is supposed to evaluate how effectively the Council builds and maintains its roads. However not even the Councillors have seen the brief let alone the report. The Council should release the report to the public before we ask them to pay us more money.’

Clr Parker said ‘ Our suggestion was to have an urgent meeting at which the Independent Road Assessment is tabled so we can all see where Council needs to make improvement and where money will be best spent.  Instead the majority of Councillors want to rush like a bull at a gate and raise residents rates.’

‘How can we ask residents to comment on the merits of a rate increase without knowledge of the report detailing council’s ability to manage and implement the extra funding wisely?’

In a 2009 community survey 41% of Cessnock residents rated roads a the most important issue.  In the same survey roads ranked lowest in terms of satisfaction with Cessnock Council services.

James Ryan   0414 922 591
Chris Parker  0434 332217

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