Special Rate Variation
COUNCIL RATES AND THE COMMUNITYSpecial Rate Variation Approved by IPART
Maitland City Council is committed to delivering quality services and improved infrastructure to the local community, following approval of its application for a special rate variation.
General Manager David Evans says ‘the approval will see Council’s total rates revenue increased by 7.25% each year for seven years and ensure the organisation is able to financially sustain service delivery to a growing community’. Under the approval, average residential urban rates increase by $71.00 in 2014/15.
Under the rating package, Council will enhance services in key areas of community priority and continue to maintain existing services to a fast growing population.
‘Residents can expect to see more spent on recreational cycleways, roads and footpaths, sporting facilities, public amenities and access to the Hunter River over the next few years,’ said Mr Evans.
In addition to increasing rating revenue, Council will increase borrowings and use loans to fund appropriate infrastructure renewal works. More ambitious grant funding targets have also been identified, as well as an annual productivity target of $500,000 each year commencing in 2015/16.
‘This has been a challenging 18 months for Council, as we worked through some of the complex issues facing local government in NSW with the community. We believe a seven year period (the maximum allowed under State legislation) provides certainty to ratepayers and will also see Council deliver some significant improvements to our services,’ said Mr Evans.
Mayor Peter Blackmore said it had been a tough decision to proceed with an application, but the elected Council was focused on the best interests of residents both now and into the future.
‘To delay acting on the very clear financial challenge we faced would have been irresponsible. Without increases to rates, we would have had to take services away from our local community – not something anyone wants to see in a city growing like ours.
‘We can now take positive steps forward, and deliver on a broad range of commitments to our residents,’ said Mayor Blackmore.
The Mayor also emphasised that Council had mechanisms in place to assist ratepayers experiencing hardship.
‘I’d encourage anyone experiencing difficulties in paying their rates to contact our staff as soon as possible so that appropriate plans can be made,’ said Cr Blackmore.
A key condition of IPART’s approval is providing information to the community outlining how funds have been spent. This will be undertaken in a variety of ways, ranging from direct mail, information at libraries and Council’s Annual Report.