Rate increase among final options in council planning documents – News Of The Area

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An option to increase the RATE is among the final options in Port Stephens Council’s integrated planning and reporting documents.

At the recent Board meeting on September 13, the Board discussed draft documentation for planning and reporting documents, with a very likely rate increase for the community.

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In June of this year, the Council adopted “Our Future Funded Communications and Engagement Plan” to start the conversation with the community about the Council’s financial situation and explore a number of non-tariff and increase options. tariffs.

The plan is currently in Phase 2, which involves publicly outlining options in integrated planning and reporting documents and further discussing community views on reduced and preferred options.

Following a previous Board meeting, Cr Giacomo Arnott moved a motion to rename the pledge to “Rate Increase Options” to ensure the intent of the pledge is clear to the community.

The documents now include the following changes regarding the change in the special rate and the financial stability of the Council:
● Baseline scenario: 2.5% price cap and next steps towards reducing service delivery.
● Scenario 1: Variation of the special rate – Independent recommendation: 10.5% for three years.
● Scenario 2: Variation of the special rate – Single year: 26% for one year.
● Increase in rights and charges for the financial year 2023 to 2024 to 5%.
● Continue to seek grants.
● Continue investigations and community consultation on the sale of underperforming assets, with profits to be placed in the Resilience Fund.

Tim Hazell, director of Port Stephens Council’s financial services section, said the main objective for council in considering a special rate variation is to be financially viable.

“It is not sustainable for the Council to operate year after year with budget deficits,” Hazell said.

“Additional revenue generated by any approved special rate variation would be used to repair the budget.

Mr. Hazell says that by eliminating the projected revenue shortfalls associated with rising costs, the Council will be able to provide the expected services to our community for the next ten years.

The Commission understands that it may be difficult for some members of the community to pay an increase in rates or fees and charges.

“The council is proposing additional accessibility measures to ensure that we have a range of initiatives in place to help any members of our community who are experiencing difficulty following a possible rate increase,” said Mr Hazel.

The revised documents will be on public display for a period of 28 days to invite submissions before a report is presented to Council.

By Tara Campbell

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