Councillors face rate protestors

COUNCILLORS will meet with ratepayers on Thursday, September 9 to address some of their concerns.

During yesterday’s general meeting, council received an email from rate protestor Shane Williams asking for a public meeting next Friday.

The request followed last week’s protest in Stanthorpe where a group of disgruntled ratepayers tried to force their way into the Chamber of Commerce meeting to challenge councillors.

Deputy Mayor Peter Blundell said he had no problem addressing the ratepayers and most elected officials echoed his sentiments though some suggested one-on-one meeting may be more productive than a large group.

Councillors were subjected to personal insults and derogatory language at the protest and expressed concerns yesterday that it would need to be a controlled environment.

Shane Williams, who has also been gathering signatures calling for councillors’ resignation, said he was glad they had agreed a date.

He added: “They could have done this weeks ago and put the fire out.”

He said he thought the CEO should also attend and urged any future councillors to come along.

At yesterday’s general meeting Cr Vic Pennisi also raised some of the points Stanthorpe Chamber of Commerce asked council to consider regarding rates concessions.

CEO Rod Ferguson confirmed these points were now in the hands of solicitors who would provide a response in the near future.

Mr Ferguson also acknowledged a number of Notices of Protest and Demand that council received from ratepayers advising they will be paying their rates at last year’s level.

He has written to all the submitters advising them they should pay the new sum and explaining some of the issues faced by council in adopting its new region-wide differential rating system.

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