Cost increases eclipse rate rise

Published on 29 April 2022


Council will face an uphill battle to balance the books in 2022/3 despite a proposed rate increase of 2.3%.


The rate rise would be .2% smaller than last financial year and comes at a time when operational costs have sharply increased.


On Wednesday Councillors voted to apply to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) for a permanent Additional Special Variation on rates of up to 2.3%, an increase of 1.6% above the .7% rate peg originally recommended by IPART for the coming financial year.


Council's General Manager, Jay Nankivell, said the extraordinarily low rate peg set by IPART left Councillors with little choice but to seek an extra 1.6% rate variation.


"Every Council in NSW objected to a rate increase of just .7%, it simply wasn't financially viable and it's left Councillors in a very difficult position," said Mr Nankivell.


"Even with a rate increase of 2.3% Council is really going to struggle to make ends meet and we'll have to look at trying to find other internal savings.


"Inflation is at 5.1%, investment returns are down, and we've seen a sharp spike in the cost of the basic materials upon which Council relies such as bitumen, steel, concrete, diesel, and timber.


"Council will have to cut $266,000 in jobs and services without this Special Variation, we have little option but to seek a small increase through IPART."


Council's Special Variation application has been supported by the United Services Union, and will be considered by IPART and an outcome is expected in May.


If Council is unsuccessful in obtaining the Special Variation, the cumulative effect will be a shortfall of $2.7 million dollars over 10 years.