Public excluded from Lockyer Valley council rates discussion

Lockyer Valley councillors have insisted on meeting aggrieved ratepayers in private.
Lockyer Valley councillors have insisted on meeting aggrieved ratepayers in private. Kerry O'Neill

LOCKYER Valley regional council has banned the public including the media from its rates discussion at its fortnightly general meeting this morning.

Council had a delegation from Kev Toohill, a packing shed owner whose rates went up by 155% this month after the council had changed its categories.

The agent for Caltex Plainland was also due to speak to council at midday today.

However, Council has decided both sessions would be closed to the public.

Closing the session for the visit of Mr Toohill, Mayor Steve Jones said this was required to discuss the "individual circumstances" of the ratepayers.

The minutes provided no justification as to why the noon session for the Caltex delegation was in closed session other than to say it was a "rates issue."

Lockyer Valley Mayor Steve Jones said the meetings would provide an opportunity for meaningful discussions on the situation.

"Council will meet with the eight owners of affected commercial premises to better understand each circumstance and listen to their concerns," he said.

"At this point Council stands by the moderate increases however we are happy to review the circumstances around the two service centres on the Warrego Highway given information which Council has found to be an anomaly which was presented on the Local Government Association of Queensland's web site."

Mayor Jones blamed Lockyer MP Ian Rickuss for interference on the matter.

"What Council doesn't appreciate is the Local Member of Parliament attempting to undermine this process which happens each and every year," Mayor Jones said.

Last week, a group of Lockyer Valley business people held a meeting brokered by Mr Rickuss which issued a statement condemning the council for some commercial rate rises between 150 and 600%.

Topics:  lockyer valley regional council

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