Shoalhaven City Council is inviting the community to find out about and provide comment on the proposed Special Rate Variation. Council is proposing to apply to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal for a continuation of the 13.2% rate increase that was applied to ratepayers this year. The previous increase was only approved to be implemented for a one-year period and Council is seeking for this increase to remain in place for the future.
As part of this application Council will also be seeking a 5% rate increase (including the rate peg) for each of the next 3 years. This increase is to meet the ongoing maintenance and renewal needs of our community infrastructure. The proposed increased revenue will fund maintenance and improvements to Shoalhaven roads, parks, sport fields and other community assets.
General Manager Russ Pigg said, “Council has listened to the feedback that was received from the community last year about the previous proposed rates increase.”
“There was a clear message that any increase needed to be more affordable and needed to be implemented at a slower pace than had originally been proposed.”
“Instead of a short sharp increase the new proposal is for a staggered increase which will be brought in over the next 3 years.”
“This will mean that Council will not be able to meet some of the State Government measures (ratios) for Local Government sustainability. Whilst Council will not meet the ratios as soon as originally planned, the proposal over time will ensure that we do meet most of what is required of us.”
“It is important in any proposal, that the needs of our community are considered and so a smaller increase has been proposed this year.”
“We understand that Council needs to look at both sides of the ledger and ensure that we are tightening our own belt. It is essential that Council finds ways to continue to save money and become more efficient. We are working hard to ensure that this occurs and continue to find savings each year.”
“We need to also make sure that Council is financial sustainable into the future. Council needs to have the revenue available that will start to address the infrastructure backlog”
“It is important for the community to understand that according to State Government measures and the information prepared as part of the 2016/17 Financial Statements, Council should be spending an extra $53M to maintain and renew our infrastructure, assets and catch up with backlog works.”
“Each year our Community Survey results indicate that the community still expects better roads and paths. With the rate increase proposed I expect noticeable improvements over the next three years.”
“To add to this there is the continuing increases in community expectations and desire for the community to have new facilities and infrastructure.”
“To reduce rate increases we have suggested alternatives such as closure of certain services and facilities, increases in fees and charges, but these have not been accepted by the community.”
“Council understands that any rate increase does have an affect for our ratepayers, however in order to keep providing for the community now and into the future we need to be financially prudent and continue to have this conversation to find the best solution for our community.”
In the simplest terms the general purpose rate increase means you would pay 5% more than the current year. If your general rates were $1000 in 2017/18 they will be $1050 in 2018/19.
“We are inviting everyone to look over the proposal and to provide feedback to Council. The Special Rate Variation and the Delivery Program and Operational Plan documents will be on exhibition from 26 October 2017 and can be found on Council’s website and at administration centres.”
Council will also host three public meetings to provide the community with more information and facts on the proposed Special Rate Variation. The community is encouraged to attend one of the public meetings which will be held on:
· Tuesday, 31 October 2017 at 7.00pm at Huskisson Community Centre
· Wednesday, 1 November 2017 at 7.00pm at Ulladulla Civic Centre - Auditorium
· Monday, 13 November 2017 at 7.00pm at the Nowra School of Arts
The public meetings will provide an opportunity to learn more about the Special Rate Variation proposal directly from Council’s General Manager and Directors, senior staff and Councillors, who will all be in attendance to engage in discussions and answer questions.
All welcome, no RSVP required.
For more information, visit Council's Get Involved website, at www.getinvolved.shoalhaven.nsw.gov.au/rates2018 or receive updates on Council’s Facebook page. Alternatively, contact Council on Tel: 4429 3111 to get a Special Rate Variation information pack sent to you.