Residents object to slicing services

Residents have widely rejected Wollongong City Council’s citizens panel recommendations, voicing ‘‘significant opposition’’ to proposed service cuts and a ‘‘general dissatisfaction’’ with the panel process.

According to a council report released yesterday, the vast majority of people who responded to the panel’s contentious plan to cut $21 million out of the council’s budget said they disagreed with service cuts.

The panel’s proposal to close three of the city’s nine rock pools was deeply unpopular, with 360 residents voicing their opposition, while 185 people said there should be no cuts to patrol hours at Coalcliff and Scarborough beaches. Fifty-one people opposed Coalcliff hall’s demolition and 49 people rejected Unanderra Library’s closure.

The only two recommendations that were supported by most respondents were plans to ‘‘reduce’’ the general manager and council executive and cut back overall staffing levels.

The community was also reluctant to cop a rate rise or pay more in fees, with 151 people disagreeing with the panel’s suggested rate hike.

However, 24 people said they would prefer to pay higher rates to maintain service levels, the report said.

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