Lismore CBD business rates will be up for discussion at tonight’s meeting.
Lismore CBD business rates will be up for discussion at tonight’s meeting.

What’s on the council’s agenda?

LISMORE City Council is gearing up for another big night as they prepare to get through several controversial agenda items.

The council will meet virtually tonight from 6pm after they failed to get through the 22 agenda items at last week’s meeting.

Some things up for discussion tonight include:

CBD rate cut

The council will be voting on a proposed decrease in rates for inner CBD businesses at tonight’s meeting.

The council hopes to “stimulate the CBD” by cutting inner CBD business rates and offers three options to fund the reduction.

The preferred option is to offset the cost against all rating categories, which would include farmland ratepayers paying up to an average of $87 extra per year and residents could pay between $48 – $55 more per year on rates.

While Option 1 would see inner CBD business ratepayers paying an average of $4432 per year, urban business ratepayers could pay up to $166 extra per year, while Nimbin businesses could be forced to pay an extra $87 per year.

Option 2 would offset the costs against all rating categories, excluding farmland and would have residential ratepayers receiving a larger increases than in Option 1.

Under Option 2, residential ratepayers could see increases of between $57 – $65 extra per year, urban business rates could swell by an additional $197 per year, while Nimbin businesses could pay an extra $104 per year.

The third option would see the costs associated with decreasing inner CBD business rates offset against all the business rating categories.

This means farmland and residential ratepayers would see no changes in their rates, while business ratepayers outside the inner CBD would see dramatic increases, in some cases more than $1000 extra.

Ratepayers classified as ‘other businesses’ would have to fork out an extra $433 per year, while Nimbin businesses would need to pay $594 extra per year.

The Re-establishment of Alcohol-Free Zones in Lismore and Nimbin

The council staff have recommended the approval of re-establishing alcohol-free zones in Lismore and Nimbin.

The decision will need to be made ahead of the July 10 deadline, when the current alcohol-free zone agreement expires.

In the council business papers, the NSW Police supports the decision to have the zones continue for a further four-years.

“‘The proposed re-establishment of alcohol-free zones at Lismore and Nimbin is supported by Richmond Area Command Police,” the NSW Police stated.

“Alcohol-free zones have a significant impact on the ability of police to reduce alcohol related crime and anti-social behaviour at Lismore and Nimbin.

“Police are using their powers to confiscate and dispose of alcohol from people who are drinking in the alcohol-free zones which is reducing crime and making Lismore and Nimbin a safer place for residents and visitors.”

Revitalising the Lismore CBD

The council is being asked to approve budget changes to allow the Revitalisation of Lismore CBD Project to commence.

Staff have recommended the council amended to include $170,000 in funding for projects in the 2019/20 budget, to assist with the $1.5 million grant given awarded last year.

The projects will focus on:

  • Council Headquarters to the CBD ($340,000): This will enable a suitably qualified consultant to undertake preliminary investigations to get the project to the point of schematic design.
  • Lismore Laneway Revitalisation and Walk ($510,000): This will reactivate the Laneways through pavement improvements and the installation of infrastructure to support place and commercial benefits including: lighting, shade, greenery activation points and utilities.
  • Business Flood and Facade Grant ($260,000): This will provide $250,000 in financial assistance to Lismore CBD businesses to undertake works to flood proof their businesses, such as lifting power points, replacing structures such as counters with movable or made of flood proof materials as well as upgrades to improve the exterior presentation of buildings.
  • Pedestrian Spine Connecting City Hall to the River ($390,000): This will deliver a wide pedestrian spine from Molesworth Street, through Heritage Park to the River and will incorporate features such as lighting, power/water and artistic arbours and will become a key element to future work within this area.