Polglase bucks new lower developer fee

FORMER Tweed mayor Warren Polglase -- often seen as being pro-developer -- has broken ranks with some in the housing industry to fight against lower development fees.

Cr Polglase has warned services across the Tweed, from surf lifesaving and sports fields to public libraries and roads, face cutbacks following a state government decision to reduce the fees councils are allowed to charge developers of new housing estates.

Instead the government has proposed abolishing a cap on council rate increases which would allow councils such as the Tweed to pick up some of the shortfall by raising annual household rates bills.

"It will make us the bad guys," said Cr Polglase.

He wants Tweed Shire Council to raise the issue as a matter of urgency at a regional conference of the NSW Shires Association to be held at Salt in February.

"We should be out there leading the attack on this," he said.

Cr Polglase said the if the government restrictions on fees included charges to developers for water and sewerage infrastructure, which seemed to be the case according to information supplied to council officers, fees applied to nearly 10,000 proposed new housing blocks at Kings Forest west of Casuarina Beach and Cobaki Lakes west of the Gold Coast Airport would be halved.

Currently, Cr Polglase said, the council charged developers between $25,000 and $44,000 per block, including sewer and water charges, depending on the location. Without those charges existing residents would have to pay for new infrastructure required by newcomers to the shire.

Tweed mayor Joan van Lieshout has previously confirmed she is worried by the government restrictions and despite her wish not to raise rates, the council's hand might be forced.

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