Inner West Independent

We’ll oppose rate rise: Greens

Neerav Bhatt and Daniel Kogoy

The Greens have given a strong indication they will attempt to block any special rate variation proposed at next week’s Leichhardt Council meeting.

Councillors are expected to vote on whether to put a rate rise on public exhibition. A decision on applying to the independent regulator, IPART, would then be made in February.

At the time of going to print, the Greens caucus had not made a final decision on agenda items for the November 26 meeting. But it is understood they are inclined to oppose the motion.

Greens councillor Daniel Kogoy told the Inner West Independent a rate rise was not justified.

“This rate increase will simply be passed on to tenants and purchasers, making housing less affordable,” he said.

Mr Kogoy criticised a lack of engagement with Greens councillors on the issue and said he was disappointed that “the Labor-led Council has already spent $40,000 on a consultant”.

“If council needs to trim expenditure, the Mayor should lead by example and reduce his huge increase in expenditure on publicity, newsletters and personalised mail that is constantly being sent to residents,” Mr Kogoy said.

The move comes despite an online Leichhardt Council survey showing 68 per cent of residents support a rate rise of some form. But the sample size of 600 and the sampling bias inherent in online surveys means the result needs to be put in perspective.

Further research, including phone polls and feedback from public meetings, was presented to councillors at a briefing on Tuesday night.

Mayor Darcy Byrne said he would “want to thoroughly read the submissions from residents before formulating a position”.

Liberal Councillor John Jobling said the Liberals would “probably” back a public exhibit.

“While Leichhardt is financially very sound, you cannot continue to allow your roads, your footpaths, your parks, your storm-water drains to slowly deteriorate and not be maintained.”

He said a public exhibition would ensure more people had an opportunity to see the proposal and make a submission.

“I would like to see a much bigger involvement by the residents. I still remain to be convinced by the proposals of a rate rise over seven years.”

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