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Special Rate Variation telephone survey to start

The externally conducted survey on Byron Shire Council’s proposed Special Rate Variation will start next week.

Conducted by Micromex Research, the company will be calling Byron Shire residents to gather community feedback.

Acting general manager Mark Arnold said the questions asked will be the same as the online survey.

“If you can spare ten minutes with the phone researcher, it would be greatly appreciated.

“The survey is random and will be reflective of our geographical locations, gender and age.

“The findings will be collated and reported to Council on 15 December,” he said.

Micromex will be telephoning and interviewing 400 Byron Shire residents.

If you don’t get a phone call and would still like to provide feedback, you’re encouraged to complete the survey online at http://www.byron.nsw.gov.au/funding-our-future.

At council’s website you can also find out more about the proposal which is asking ratepayers to consider a rate rise on the general land rate component of the rates notice.

The rate increase would not be applied to the fixed or consumptions charges for water, sewer and waste.

The three options being considered, range from an increase of 7.5 per cent, 10 per cent and up to 12.5 per cent. The new rate would come into effect from 2017/18 and would raise urgently needed funds to fix council’s ageing infrastructure.

Funding raised would go into infrastructure such as roads, drains, bridges, stormwater drainage, buildings and open spaces.

All of the three rate rise options include the NSW state government’s estimated rate peg of 2.5%; they also have varying impacts on assets and service quality.

At the end of the four year period the Special Rate Variation increase would be built into the general rate base and permanently retained.

The rate rise options have the potential to raise about $16.5 million to $28 million over the four year period and include Council borrowing an additional $2 million each year for 3 years to help maintain and renew infrastructure.

To date over 250 online surveys have been completed and 155 reply paid short surveys received.

Mr Arnold said community interest in the first two weeks has been strong.

You can read more about some of the frequently asked questions at http://www.byron.nsw.gov.au/faq/special-rate-variation.

Staff have attended ten Community Information stands and will also be out again next week chatting to residents at Suffolk Park, New Brighton , Ocean Shores, Byron Bay, Mullumbimby and Bangalow.

Find out where staff will be at http://www.byron.nsw.gov.au/funding-our-future.

Media contact:

Media Communication Officer
Byron Shire Council
Ph: 02 6626 7320

Byron Shire is located at Australia's eastern-most point with a population of almost 29,000. It is a thriving community where residents and visitors live, work and play in a sustainable environment and where Council strives to deliver the highest standard of local government services and infrastructure.