IN a surprise move, Newcastle councillors decided to pass on a rate rise across the city for residents and business owners.
Council staff proposed to lift rates by 1.1 per cent over the statewide cap but the move was blocked by the elected council, seven votes to five, at last week's council meeting.
Councillor David Compton broke ranks with the traditional voting pattern of his Liberal and independent counterparts, voting with Labor and the Greens.
Labor councillor Nuatali Nelmes said the Newcastle community had lost its trust with the council, because it had not followed through with its planned expenditure since the last rate rise.
She named stalled projects, such as the Hunter Street redevelopment and the art gallery redevelopment, as examples.