Lockyer Valley Mayor warns councillors over rate rises

Lockyer Valley Mayor Steve Jones attacked unnamed councillors for telling "porkies" about the budget process which led to large rate rises for some businesses.
Lockyer Valley Mayor Steve Jones attacked unnamed councillors for telling "porkies" about the budget process which led to large rate rises for some businesses. Amy Lyne

MAYOR Steve Jones has warned his councillors not to tell lies about what he called the "rates debacle" in an extraordinary attack during last week's Lockyer Valley Regional Council meeting.

Cr Jones said he had heard concerning stories about what some councillors had told ratepayers about the budget process, though he didn't name any councillors.

"One councillor told them they had only got the papers 30 minutes before the decision which was not true," he said.

"The Local Government Act states the budget must be delivered in writing 14 days before the decision."

Cr Jones said all of the rises were discussed in workshops.

"Some councillors are saying they weren't informed but we've got the attendance sheets and obviously they were informed," he said.

"There's no prize for telling porkies to make themselves look good and I can assure you it has not gone unnoticed."

Cr Jones described the rate rises affair, which has left businesses dealing with 150% to 600% rate rises, as a "storm in a teacup".

"Every year some people are unhappy about their rates notices and they go through the normal objection process," Cr Jones said.

"Normally there's a 100 of those a year, this year there is only 20 yet there's been a huge uproar and a lot of sensationalism, and the stories told have been outlandish."

Council has extended the rate payment discount period until October 12 for people disputing their rates.

Meanwhile, the State Government seems unwilling to get involved in the matter.

One of the businesses fighting the rate rises contacted Local Government minister David Crisafulli who said the State Government had limited powers to intervene.

"The rating powers under the act (provide) the flexibility for each local government to allocate rating in a way it considers appropriate for each community," Mr Crisafulli said in a letter to the business owner.

The business owner said Mr Crisafulli was simply "passing the buck".

Topics:  lockyer valley lockyer valley regional council steve jones

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