Council proposes increase in Rates, Fees and Charges

Councillors will next week be meeting to agree to place on public exhibition it's revised combined draft Delivery Program 2017-21 and Operational Plan 2020- 21. Proposed changes include: • The general rate increases by 2.6%, the rate peg amount for 2020-21. • The environment fund rate increases by 2.6%. • The waste collection charges increases by 2.6% for the typical household. • The water access charge increases by 3% to $340 (20mm connection access charge) and the usage charge increases by 2.7% to $3.75 per kilolitre. • The sewer access charge increases by 2.1% to $990 (20mm connection access charge) and the usage charge increases by 2.1% to $1.96 per kilolitre. The report in their April 7th agenda also outlines the four year activities and annual actions Council will undertake to contribute to achieving what they describe as "our community’s vision to be friendly, responsible, thriving and proud." "Each service that assists in achieving the outcome is identified. Measures to track and report on progress in achieving each activity is also provided. "This document also includes financial information that supports the revised draft Delivery Program 2017-21 and Operational Plan 2020-21, including the budgets, capital program, revenue policy and draft 20-21 Fees and Charges." The revised draft Delivery Program 2017-21 and Operational Plan 2020-21 presented to the councillors will incorporate the Budget, Capital Works Program, Statement of Revenue Policy and Fees and Charges with a view to being endorsed and placed on public exhibition for a period of not less than 42 days. This year the Operational Plan also includes a section on the bushfire recovery actions, highlighting to the community that this will be a significant focus, underpinning many of the proposed activities. The maintenance allocations have been kept at the same amount as 2019-20 which will result in some minor reduction in level of service due to normal annual cost escalation for materials supply, wages, plant hire costs. To address this, additional focus is being placed on grant applications with a substantial renewal component. It should also be noted that there will be revotes in the capital works program due to COVID-19 and bushfire recovery. Council advises in its report that operations are separated into three funds for financial purposes. The three funds are the General Fund (which includes waste and environment activities), the Sewer Fund and the Water Fund saying key considerations for Water and Sewer operations are "ensuring a stable pricing path for ratepayers and meeting NSW Office of Water Best Practice requirements". For more than a decade Council has been overcharging ratepayers for their water and sewer, beyond cost recovery, and redirecting a 'dividend' to the General Fund to get around the restrictions imposed by IPART that the General Fund can not be increased above CPI. This fact was revealed last year when Councillor McGinlay brought it to the attention of the public during a Council meeting. In the report to Council the staff have revealed that this is once again their intention by saying "Council anticipates delivering a dividend from these funds to the General Fund in 2020-21." Proposed changes include: • The general rate increases by 2.6%, the rate peg amount for 2020-21. • The environment fund rate increases by 2.6%. • The waste collection charges increases by 2.6% for the typical household. • The water access charge increases by 3% to $340 (20mm connection access charge) and the usage charge increases by 2.7% to $3.75 per kilolitre. • The sewer access charge increases by 2.1% to $990 (20mm connection access charge) and the usage charge increases by 2.1% to $1.96 per kilolitre.


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