Since the amalgamation of Kogarah and Hurstville Councils we have maintained consistent service delivery to all our community despite there being a difference in the rates paid by residents of the former Council areas.
Extensive community consultation over the last two years has made it very clear the community wants the rating system to be fairer and more equitable. The community expects us to address the imbalance.
In addition to harmonizing the rating systems Council has applied to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) for a small increase to the total income Council can collect in rates.
In the proposal we are increasing the rates by 3.3 per cent each year over 5 years. In the first year this will maintain our income as we have an existing SRV which expires on 30 June 2021. This means we will immediately lose $2.3 million income from July 1 which will have a significant impact on Council service.
Currently Council's overall rate per capita is 30 per cent below the NSW average. With this proposal we will still be well below that average.
It is important to note rates income for Council does not grow with an increase in population or increased development. In fact, these factors put a greater burden on Council services. The consultation clearly stated the community wants our current services maintained. The only way to do that is through this application process.
An increase in the rates income does not mean an increase to everyone's rates.
In the proposal there will be some people who will see an increase and some who will see a decrease. Council has made significant efficiency savings, $9.8 million saved in the last year alone, and this is an ongoing commitment.
We are also committed to continuing the engagement with our community about these decisions and retaining our transparency about the financial position of Council.
In this proposal the $250 pensioner rebate will remain and Council has support options in place for anyone who is experiencing hardship.
I encourage everyone in our community to visit our New Rates 2021 web pages to understand what this will mean for you.
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