Mayors express concerns over new council comparison site
RATEPAYERS across the Northern Rivers can now see how their council is performing compared to other councils, thanks to a new website from the Office of Local Government.
But some local mayors are concerned people might look at the data out of context.
The State Government this week launched the Your Council website, which is similar to the My School resource.
The website also compares each council's assets and finances, allowing users to compare this data and see how local council ranks with other local government areas and against state averages, such as the average time it takes to process development applications.
Lismore Mayor Isaac Smith said he hoped it would give more information to people, but it needed to be viewed in context.
"I do have concerns people might not compare fairly such as comparing Brisbane to Beaudesert," he said.
"But having factual sites with real data as opposed to Facebook sites with incorrect information is a good thing."
Richmond Valley Mayor Robert Mustow agreed.
Cr Mustow said people needed to ensure they were comparing "apples with apples."
"Transparency is a great thing but to compare some of the Northern Rivers councils, we have totally different problems we have to solve in this diverse area," he said.
"Some of the information they are putting out such as the pay rates for general managers is already available in the councils annual reports."
Kyogle mayor Danielle Mulholland said the Office of Local Government had "done a great job in capturing a snapshot of councils", but she questioned the accuracy of some of the data.
"For a small rural council, we are doing really well the money going where it's needed," she said.
"It's going to be very useful for the average person."
Ballina Shire Mayor David Wright questioned the need for the website.
He said the council concentrated on its Community Connect newsletter several times a year.
Tenterfield mayor Peter Petty said he thought OLG had done an "outstanding job" with the Your Council website, because it allowed people to compare councils of a similar size.
"It's presented in terms everyone can understand," he said.
"It is very thorough."
Infrastructure backlog ratio
(Desired benchmark is less than 2 per cent)
- Ballina: Less than 2 per cent
- Byron: 5 - 7 per cent
- Kyogle: 3- 5 per cent
- Lismore: 10 - 20 per cent
- Richmond Valley: Less than 2 per cent
- Tenterfield: 10 -20 per cent
- Tweed: Less than 2 per cent.
Average business rates
- Ballina: $3,000 - $5,000
- Byron: $2,000 - $3,000
- Kyogle: $1,000 - $2,000
- Lismore: $3,000 - $5,000
- Richmond Valley: $2,000 - $3,000
- Tenterfield: $1,000 - $2,000
- Tweed: $2,000 - $3,000.