Lismore resident Neville King said he would reopen the 'embassy'.
Lismore resident Neville King said he would reopen the 'embassy'. Marc Stapelberg

Lismore council has 'clearly not listened to ratepayers'

THE self-proclaimed "Robin Hood of Richmond Hill”, Neville King, has declared he will re-open the "ratepayers embassy” in the heart of Lismore after Lismore City Council's decision to hike rates.

"Following the meeting last night (Tuesday) where five ratepayers actually got up to speak against increasing the rates, five of our councillors voted to increase the rate over four years by 24 per cent approximately,” Mr King said.

"The situation clearly was Lismore council had not listened to the ratepayers.

"The ratepayers overwhelmingly said no to a special rate variation, but Lismore council and our councillors, decided they would support the council in its endeavour to increase the rates on every ratepayer in Lismore's LGA.”

He said the $130,000 survey the council undertook to gauge public opinion clearly showed that ratepayers did not want a rate rise.

He said it was interesting to note that when he had previously opened the ratepayers embassy he had not encountered one rate payer that said they were for the rate rise.

"This becomes a problem because the costs are being thrust on top of the ratepayers, farmers, businesses, and many of our ratepayers are in financial strife in their capacity to pay for the rate increases,” he said.

"I've been here 31 years and the roads I will admit have got a major problem - but I believe that it was raised at the council meeting last night that the work practices and fixing our roads has been our downfall.

"It is not just that the roads are being fixed.

"It is the way the roads are being fixed and this council really needs to look and consider ways to better prepare our roads.

"As a ratepayer I am trying to do my bit to encourage every ratepayer, to have their say. We still will have an opportunity if our council proceeds to go to IPART (Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal).

"Every ratepayer has the opportunity to reply to IPART and object to this rate increase.

"Come September, during the new election, the ratepayers will have a memory of exactly how these people are proceeding.”

The embassy in Conway Street will open January 19.