Shoalhaven City Councils held an Extra Ordinary Meeting on the Proposed Rate Rise on 1 February 2017. This meeting discussed the outcomes of the community engagement process and the proposed rates submission to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART).
The proposal to apply to the IPART for a special rate variation above the rate peg was put forward to address the funding gap that continues to grow in maintaining and renewing infrastructure and providing services for the community.
The motion supported by the majority of Councillors was to seek, through IPART, a rate rise of 11.5% in 2017/18 and 11.5% in 2018/19 above the rate peg, so that Council can continue to provide services to the community and provide increases in the maintenance and renewal of the communities assets.
It proposed that the submissions from the Shoalhaven Independents along with all community submissions received as part of the community engagement process would be provided to IPART as part of consideration of the proposal.
The motion also sought additional ways to obtain revenue in response to requests by the community. This includes seeking ways in which tourists can also financially contribute to the assets of the Shoalhaven.
It was also proposed that matters raised, by an independent source in a recent confidential meeting with Councillors, would also be provided to Council’s Independent Risk and Audit Committee.
However the decision has been the subject of a rescission motion put forward by Councillors Pakes, Guile and Proudfoot. This means the decision is to be further debated at another Extraordinary Council meeting to be held tomorrow at 4pm (2nd February 2017) at the Council Chambers, Nowra.
Mayor Findley said “This discussion does not stop at this moment in time, regardless of any decision of Council, this matter is still open to further discussion and assessment through the IPART process.”
“There will also be further consultation on how the rates will be split across all rating categories as part of the Operational Plan consultation during April/May 2017 and any changes resulting from the new property valuations which will be received from the State Government shortly.”
“IPART will assess the submissions and community sentiment for the Special Rate Variation proposal. IPART can either accept the proposal, reject the proposal outright or could offer an alternative option for Council.”
“Council is constantly asked by the community for improvements to their roads and to their facilities, that they want additional car parks, sporting facilities and to keep halls and community centres open. Council needs to be able to afford to provide this for our community, into the future.”
“I believe in this community and we want to provide for our communities future. We are trying to take an important step to ensuring that we work together to ensure that our Council can continue to provide for the needs of future generations and achieve a better future for us all.”
“I accept that this is a difficult and vexed issue and that some in our community do not support this proposal but it is essential that we are sustainable into the future.”
The matter will again be debated on 2nd February 2017, 4pm at Nowra Administration Building.