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IPART announces 2016/17 rate pegging amount

13 January, 2016Posted in: Other
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In early December the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) announced that the maximum allowable increase councils across the State could apply to their rates income for the forthcoming financial year was 1.8 per cent.

This is commonly referred to as the rate peg and does not include any special rate variation applied for.

Based on previous years’ figures Wingecarribee Shire Council had projected this year’s amount to be 2.5 per cent.

“The difference of 0.7 per cent effectively means that Council would see a reduction in rate income of $240,000,” said Council’s General Manager Ann Prendergast.

“Council has subsequently decided to retain the 2.5 per cent rate increase in its proposed Special Rate Variation on the basis that this additional revenue is required to ensure that we do not go into a budget deficit.”

The 0.7 per cent difference equates to an average annual increase of $9 per residential property, $21 per farmland and $25 for businesses.

“General rate income increases are an important source of revenue which allow councils to continue to provide a range of facilities and services in-line with community expectations,” Ms Prendergast added.

“And while Council appreciates any increase to the annual household finances may be difficult, we’re also mindful of the need to retain a balanced budget which keeps pace with the increasing cost of providing these vital services.”

“Should this not occur, Council may need to make some difficult decisions about the types of services, and standard, we provide into the future.”

There are other factors which can affect the level of rates residents pay, including changes in land valuations.

Rates in the Wingecarribee Shire for the 2016/17 financial year will be based on new valuations supplied by the Valuer General as at 30 June 2015.

In December 2015, Council voted unanimously to notify IPART of its intent to apply for a Special Rate Variation and is currently seeking community feedback on projects that would be delivered under three different scenarios.  Each of these funding scenarios included the projected 2.5 per cent increase.

Documents detailing the three scenarios including the draft Delivery Program, draft Strategic Asset Management Plan and draft Long term Financial Plan can be found at Council’s Moss Vale, Bowral and Mittagong libraries, the Moss Vale Civic Centre and online at http://www.yoursaywingecarribee.com.au/SRV until 1 February 2016.

Council reminds ratepayers that payment options are available for those in genuine hardship and has mechanisms in place to assist ratepayers should they incur difficulty in keeping up with their rates payments. Visit www.wsc.nsw.gov.au/services/rates for more information.