Push for spe­cial rate rises

STRAT­EGY SEEN AS FI­NAN­CIALLY PRU­DENT IN THE LONG RUN

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Ali­son Bald­ing Should Pen­rith Coun­cil raise its rates? @the­druitt

RATEPAY­ERS will fork out an ex­tra 2.4 per cent over cur­rent rate lev­els each year to 2020 if Pen­rith Coun­cil’s plan to fund fu­ture ser­vices and as­sets is ap­proved.

This means ratepay­ers with an av­er­age land value of $250,000 can ex­pect to pay and ex­tra $54.50 in the 2016-2017 financial year, an ex­tra $59.50 the fol­low­ing pe­riod, then $65 in the next year, grow­ing to $71 in the 2019-20 financial year – this rep­re­sents a to­tal $250 in­crease per house­hold over the next four years.

The spe­cial rate vari­a­tion re­quest is in line with the coun­cil’s long-term financial plan and was in­cluded in its re­sponse to the State Gov­ern­ment’s Fit For the Fu­ture re­forms.

Bol­stered by the green tick given to the coun­cil in last week’s In­de­pen­dent Pric­ing and Reg­u­la­tory Tri­bunal re­port, which made it the only Western Syd­ney coun­cil among 36 NSW coun­cils con­sid­ered fi­nan­cially fit, Mayor Karen McKe­own de­fended the pro­posal.

“It seems many

other coun­cils failed to see the writ­ing on the wall,” Ms McKe­own said.

Pen­rith’s sub­mis­sion to IPART in­cluded a pro­posal to con­tinue the As­set Re­newal and Es­tab­lished Ar­eas Strat­egy spe­cial rate vari­a­tion.

“AR­EAS en­abled us to do more than just the bare min­i­mum with many of our roads and build­ings and has paid off in the long run by avoid­ing ma­jor re­pairs and up­grades,” Ms McKe­own said.

Act­ing gen­eral man­ager Barry Husk­ing said mea­sures were in place to help the most vul­ner­a­ble in the com­mu­nity such as pen­sion­ers who would be hard­est hit by the change.

Two other op­tions in­clude a plan to main­tain ser­vices with no change to the cur­rent rate lev­els, which would see the as­set re­newal back­log grow.

The third op­tion pro­poses a de­crease in ser­vices with the dis­con­tin­u­a­tion of AR­EAS and a one-off re­duc­tion to rates.

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