Community Update # 6
Through our community surveys, Council has heard what is important to you. Residents want to see a greater focus on road maintenance, economic development and provision of services and facilities for youth. Council’s ability to maintain our local community’s assets and deliver the outcomes residents want as we go forward is constrained by our current financial resources.
An external review of our financial position assessed that Council requires an additional $4.75 million annually to maintain the necessary levels of service – mostly related to roads. This funding will allow us to do more than the current short term or responsive maintenance.
Council also requires $1.25 million annually to provide additional economic and other services that will put the community in the strongest possible position to respond to local economic challenges and grasp opportunities
Under OPTION 1, we can continue to maintain the Council’s services and $530 million of infrastructure assets. Just as important, we can also ready the LGA for the future with increased investment in maintenance ensuring the underlying cost of major maintenance does not grow to an unaffordable level. Most important, we can diversify the local economy, bringing more quality jobs for people as coal mining and power generation reduce in activity The outcomes from Option 1 ‘Maintained’ are:
- Maintain roads, footpaths, business centres and buildings to a level agreed with the community
- Maintain services to the community, including playing fields, parks, aquatic centre, libraries and community facilities.
- Ensure Council’s infrastructure renewal backlog does not become unaffordable in the future.
- Enhance local economic activity and job opportunities.
Option 1 will provide for the future as we transition from a coal and power producing economy. We will address the structural deficit allocations to maintain services, build capacity and facilitate economic resilience.
If an increase of 26.5% for residential and other rate categories happens, what amount will be asked for the following year?
Option 1 is for a total increase of 24% plus the expected rate peg of 2.5% to residential, business and farmland rates starting from 1 July 2023. In future years, rates would only increase over your 23/24 land rate by the amount approved by the NSW Government. Council has forecast a figure of around 2.5% for this. But, this is not a council decision.
The cost of living is going up. How has this been addressed?
While the total rates income would increase by 42%, Council has wound back the increase for residential, business & farmland. These would increase by 26.5% (24% plus 2.5%; the average rate peg).
Council offers the Pensioner Rebate Scheme, which financially supports this important cohort in our community. If, an application for a Special Rate Variation is submitted to IPART and approved, the Pensioner Rebate will increase by 20% from $250 to $300. In addition, Council also has a Hardship Policy to accommodate the special needs of those unable to pay their rates in full on time.