SRV CONFUSION: Why has IPART application not been withdrawn?
CONFUSION erupted in the Lismore City Council meeting earlier tonight as discussion on the issue of the controversial special rate variation once again came to a head.
At the March 10 meeting councillors voted to withdraw a plan to increase rates by 24 per cent over four years, however an IPART spokeswoman confirmed the council has not yet formally withdrawn their SRV application.
During the meeting Cr Nancy Casson raised an urgent motion for the general manager to action the resolution of council from March 10 to withdraw its application to IPART for an SRV.
The motion, while eventually denied, raised discussion among the councillors, with many questioning the time frame of the withdrawal process.
Cr Casson said "given the length of time" since councillors voted to withdraw the application at the March 10 meeting, she was "disappointed" to hear the SRV had not yet been formally withdrawn.
"What is the agenda here, why has that not yet been actioned," she said.
Mayor Isaac Smith said as "far as he was aware" the process to withdraw the application was in process.
"There is a notice of motion from council to remove that SRV application, there is no rescission motion and no attempt to block that," he said.
"It's been a busy couple of weeks and all I can assume is there has been some delay unfortunately in having that removed.
"I can understand Cr Casson's frustration in all of this, but I have spoken to the general manager today regarding this and I am assured it is being removed, we're just working through the process now."
However Cr Eddie Lloyd argued councillors deserved clarification on when the council intended to withdraw the application.
Cr Lloyd said all council resolutions should be "implemented in a timely manner".
"It is now getting on a month since councillors voted to withdraw the SRV application," she said.
"There should be no delay. Our community wants to know what is happening with this."
Lismore City Council general manager Shelley Oldham answered councillors' questions and argued IPART were "well aware" of the council's intention to withdraw.
"We have been in correspondence with IPART every day, and IPART are well and truly aware of your intentions," she said.
Prior to the meeting, an IPART spokeswoman confirmed to the Northern Star the council had not yet formally withdrawn their SRV application.
The spokeswoman said correspondence from the council had indicated the issue would instead be discussed at tonight's meeting.
"Council has notified us they will be voting at their April 14 meeting on whether to continue with the special rate variation application," she said.
"In the meantime IPART will continue with the assessment until we receive a formal withdrawal from council.
"Once council had told us they are withdrawing their application, this notice of withdrawal will go onto the IPART website."
IPART were due to hand down their decision in May.