Mayor confronts rates row

MAYOR Ron Bellingham addressed a 100-strong crowd of ratepayers in Stanthorpe Civic Centre last night.

The meeting was intended to address community angst with the rates system, with many questioning the changes since the last valuation.

The meeting started on a sour note, with Shane Williams, who has been leading a petition demanding councillors to resign over the rates debacle, insisting he would chair the meeting.

Initially the meeting was to be chaired by the mayor.

“Council was going to run this forum but this is our forum, we’ve got the questions, and hopefully they can have the answers,” he said.

Mr Williams told the crowd not to personally attack or verbally abuse councillors.

Police were present to ensure things didn’t escalate.

Mayor Bellingham firstly addressed the meeting expressing the difficulties council faced when it amalgamated two rating systems into one.

He rubbished suggestions it was a Warwick versus Stanthorpe issue, using an example of a Warwick property that faced an increase of $25,000, the largest increase in the region, which had to be reduced to $17,000.

Ten questions were sent to Council, including ‘how many other councils in Queensland use the same category system as the Southern Downs?’


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