Letter: Answering the difficult question

Dear Editor,

I’ve seen comments in print from residents of the Great Lakes area about impending special rate variance (SRV) increases averaging $77 per anum for the Great Lakes area.

Also, that it seems inequitable that rate increases for the Great Lakes area of MidCoast Council are higher than those for the Taree and Gloucester areas.

My understanding, remembering that I am no longer a councillor since the merger, is that a couple of important inter-related facts need to be  considered.

Firstly around 40 per cent of the $77 would occur automatically under the State government’s decreed rate pegging for all councils.

Thus, the “special” increase is only 60 per cent of the figures being quoted.

In the case of Great Lakes, about $46 or less than $1 per week.

With regard to the fact that the Great Lakes’ increase is the highest, this pertains to another illogical State government decree that rates of the three areas cannot be harmonised for the next three years.

Thus, perversely, Great Lakes start at the highest rate to which the five per cent is applied and therefore, as a consequence of the rules set down by the State government,  Great Lakes rates remain the highest.

Jim Morwitch,

Forster.