FOUR days after the closing date for submissions, Lake Macquarie City Council has lodged a nine-page document to the Independent Pricing And Regulatory Tribunal responding to opponents of its proposed rates increase.
The document is in answer to the biggest community backlash to a rates hike proposal that IPART has ever encountered.
The nine-page submission is now exhibited on IPART's website.
But residents and community groups do not have the same opportunity to make a submission after the deadline.
This has outraged the recently formed Back to Basics protesters.
Council originally lodged a massive 3000-page submission to justify an unprecedented rates hike of almost 10 per cent a year for the next seven years.
A council spokesperson told the Lakes Mail that there was nothing in the latest submission which was not in the original document.
"Following the close of submissions on 20 April, council received advice from IPART that they considered it appropriate for us to reply to the submissions on the IPART website," the council spokesperson said.
"The intention of this reply was to clarify information contained within the submissions.
"There was no new information in the reply relating to council's application for a rate increase that was not already available in council's IPART application of 24 February, 2012."
But any inference that IPART initiated the response from council was refuted by IPART's local government director Alison Milne.
"Lake Macquarie City Council contacted IPART on 17 April, 2012, to ask whether the council was required to respond to the submissions received by IPART," Ms Milne said.
"We advised the council that a response was not required as part of our processes, but that the council could provide us with a response in light of the submissions received by us. Council did so on 24 April, 2012.
"Of the 13 councils seeking special rate variations in 2012, Lake Macquarie is the only council which has, to date, written to us specifically in response to the submissions that we received," Ms Milne said.
"We won't be accepting further communication from residents for publication on the website."
¦ Are council's critics missing the big picture for Lake Macquarie? See page 4.
¦ Should council be entitled to post a response on the IPART website to the public submissions after the deadline? Have your say, see page 12.