Coming before Eurobodalla Shire councillors at the next Council meeting on Tuesday is a staff written report and recommendation to the NSW Government's Rating System Review seeking Councillor's endorsement at the eleventh hour as the submission is due no later than 13th September 2019.
The staff are asking councillors to endorse their submission to the Office of Local Government responses to the recommendations raised in the IPART report ‘Rating System Review.
And what of Councillor feed back or even community feedback to the proposed revision of NSW Government's Rating System. Once again the staff have prepared a submission in isolation of the councillors and community and expect the councillors to rubber stamp it at the eleventh hour trusting in its content. The staff do advise in their report that "A copy of Council’s submission to the Rating System Review is attached to this report and will be made available to the public via Council website."
What the staff have failed to advise Councillors is the expectation of the NSW Government that the community be welcome and included in making submissions as well stating in their guidance notes the following:
With this in mind, the NSW Government is now seeking additional feedback from councils, communities and other interested stakeholders on the remaining recommendations in IPART’s final reports. Public consultation on each of IPART’s Final Reports closes on the following dates: Local Government Rating System - September 13 Reporting and Compliance Burdens on Local Government - October 25, and Local Government Compliance and Enforcement - November 15.
To support the community in providing feedback, a consultation guide ***** has been issued with each report indicating which of IPART’s proposals are still under consideration.
Copies of these guides are attached for your further information.
Following the completion of public consultation, the NSW Government will consider what further action should be taken on IPART’s recommendations.
The Guide states:
The Government welcomes community views on the majority of IPART’s recommendations prior to finalising its response to the Final Report of this review.
How to provide feedback • Feedback should be provided in the online feedback form. For ease of reference, the feedback form is also in the Appendix to this Guide. • Alternatively, feedback can be provided to the Office of Local Government (OLG) by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. • The closing date for feedback is 13 September 2019.
Most disturbingly and disappointingly the first our community heard of this was last Wednesday when the Agenda for next Tuesday's meeting was published.
The staff report clearly states "On 21 June 2019 Council received a request from The Honourable Shelly Hancock MP, Minister for Local Government seeking feedback on a series of reviews undertaken by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART)."
21 June 2019 !!!! yet Council have not informed their community nor invited the community to participate in the feedback and now they advise the community that submissions close on September 13th and "A copy of Council’s submission to the Rating System Review is attached to this report and will be made available to the public via Council website."
And still they make no mention to their community that they too can make a submission. Now that is NOT ON !!!! It is now the opinion of many that the Council General Manager has failed in her duties to duly advise the community that submissions are called for in the possible rate review process for Eurobodalla residents. While it may not have been mandatory for her to do so there is an expectation by the community that they are kept informed of all democratic processes that will affect their livelihoods. In the case of changing the way rates are calculated the community will be more than interested as this will directly impact their finances.
The submission before councillors next Tuesday identifies what staff SUPPORT and the key recommendation is "allowing non-metropolitan councils to choose between the Capital Improved Value and Unimproved Value (UV) methods as the basis for setting ad valorem rates at the rating category level."
It is more than clear that CIV rating is the preferred option for Council by the previous actions of both the General Manager in Victoria and by Councillor Lindsay Brown's submission supporting CIV in 2015.
NSW Legislative Council General Purpose Standing Committee No 6 –Inquiry into Local Government in New South Wales. The staff have offered NO indication of costs, of social or financial impacts nor of comparisons between the current UV system and the proposed CIV.
For those interested: An overview with example has been prepared that indicates that if a CIV is applied in the Eurobodalla there will be an increase in the general rate for an average home in the order of $900 per year
You can find the overview document HERE