1. There is NO special rate variation for 2017/2018.
Council is only proposing to increase rates by the State Government determined rate cap of 1.5%. This increase is available to all NSW councils for 2017/2018. This should not to be confused with a special rate variation.
Council under its Fit for The Future Improvement Plan adopted a strategy of eliminating a $17 million transport infrastructure backlog (“improving Council’s road network”).
2. Council has funded $3.4 million of additional road works (over and above normal programmed works) across the Shire in the last two (2) financial years ($1.7m x 2); without a special rate variation. Council’s investment in its road network for 2016/2017 is greater than $7 million.
Council has been able to fund this $3.4 million of additional road work due to the Council’s:
a. Adopted Fit for the Future Improvement Plan.
b. Newly adopted fiscally responsible policies.
c. Implementing efficiency gains in its operations.
d. Receipt of some additional grant funding; and
e. Good management.
There are three ways of generating the funds needed to eliminate the $17 m backlog;
(1) cut costs; reduce or cease providing services provided by Council to the community,
(2) raise additional income; apply for a special rate variation; or
(3) a combination of the two.
Council has included option 3 “a combination of the two” in its long term financial planning.
3. Council is required to consider the possibility of a special rate variation in the future to continue to fund the required investment in the Shire road network; an additional $1.7 million per year for a further 8 years (a total investment of $17 million over 10 years).
A 5% special rate variation increase would approximately generate an additional $640,000 per annum to fix Council’s roads, combined with efficiency savings; would eliminate the $17 million infrastructure backlog.
The approximate monetary value of a 5% special rate variation equates to:
a. A flat average of less than $100 per annum per rateable assessment;
b. A flat average of less than $2.00 per week per rateable assessment.
4. Before Council can proceed with an application for a special rate variation; Council is required to undertake community consultation.
Should Council be required to pursue any form of special rate variation in the future it is required to undertake a significant community consultation exercise prior to any application being made.