Protests fail as rate rise looms

WHETHER residents like it or not, Blacktown Council will apply to IPART this week to increase its 2014-15 rates.

Liberal councillors and independent Russ Dickens voted to ignore residents' wishes and proceed with plans for a special variation rate.

If approved, residential rates will rise by 5.3 per cent in 2014-15, an extra 88¢ a week.

General businesses will have a $6 weekly rise and sub-category businesses will have a 10 per cent increase or $21 a week.

These businesses will face another 10 per cent rise the next financial year.

The council received 157 written submissions and 100 calls from the public about the proposal.

All but five of the written submission were opposed to the proposal, as were most of the calls.

Blacktown Residents Voice spokeswoman Indira Devi criticised the rate rise and the $250,000 allocated for a consultant to look at rebranding Blacktown as a regional city.

"You need to ensure better consultation with the community then make decisions," she told the council last week. "We would feel appreciated if we were being listened to and there would be fewer heated discussions at these meetings."

Liberal councillors said it wasn't an easy decision.

"We have an obligation to keep the city's infrastructure up to scratch," Karlo Siljeg said.

Mark Holmes added: "If we don't tackle this now, future generations will pay a heavy price."

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