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Rate heartache for residents

RESIDENTS could fork out an extra 46.2 per cent for council rates over the next four years.
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To ensure council is, and remains Fit for the Future, it has proposed a special rate variation to fund its asset maintenance and renewal gap.

However, the rate rise has come as an unwelcome shock for Burradoo resident Peter (last name withheld).

“I won’t be able to afford it,” he said.

“I would have to leave the area.”

Peter has lived in the area for more than 15 years, is self employed because of injuries and earns a low income.

“I have to rely on myself,” he said.

“It’s totally unfair for people.”

Council has presented residents with three options to consider before it applies to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) for a rise in rates.

One of these options would see rates increased by 9.25 per cent each year for three years and 12.15 per cent in the fourth year. This is called the ‘improve’ option. Over the four year period this would be a 46.2 per cent compounded increase including the annual 2.5 per cent rate peg.

The second option, called ‘maintain’ will include a 7.75 per cent increase each year for three years and a 10.65 per cent increase in the fourth year. Including the 2.5 per cent rate peg, this would be a cumulative increase of 38.4 per cent.

The final option, called ‘deteriorate’ does not include a special rate variation. Instead, rates would increase by the annual rate peg of about 2.5 per cent, totaling to 10.4 per cent over four years.

Council’s general manager Ann Prendergast said the increased rates would not only go toward improving and maintaining council assets, but improving council efficiency across the board. This will include a full service review over a period of time.

“Overtime it will improve our efficiency and effectiveness,” Ms Prendergast said.

“It [special rate variation] will result in much more sustainability for the future of the levels of service this community expects.

“The community has high expectations and continuing with rate pegging only would not enable council to continue to deliver services people expected.”

To ensure the extra 46.2 per cent from ratepayers goes towards asset renewal and maintenance, council will be closely monitored by the government in the way it spends its money and carries out its Fit for the Future improvement plan.

Ms Prendergast said extra funds created from the special rate variation were not intended for legal and court costs and she would “remind” councillors of that.

The decision to implement a special rate variation has to be made by council by December this year.

Council will continue hosting Information Kiosks to inform residents about the rate rise and residents are encouraged to come along and ask questions.

“I appreciate the fact that there will be a number of older residents in the shire who have limited and fixed incomes and this will be very scary for them,” Ms Prendergast said.

However, there are hardship provisions people can apply for and payments can also be spread over a long period of time.

For details and to have your say on council’s special rate variation, visit http://yoursaywingecarribee老域名出售备案老域名/SRV

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