The Free Press (Corowa)
Council gets nod for 6% SRV
Federation Council received approval on Monday for its 6% special rate variation (SRV) on top of the state-capped 2% meaning an 8% rate rise has been confirmed as the definite 2021/22 draft budget figure on public exhibition.
The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) approved council’s SRV application to increase general income by more than the rate peg amount of 2% from July 1, 2021.
Council applied for an increase of 8%, inclusive of the annual rate peg, to be retained permanently in its rate base.
Based on the extensive feedback, council officers recommended the 2021/22 rate peg of 2% be applied based on the value of land, and the Special Variation of 6% be applied evenly to each property in the Federation Council area.
This results in an increase to average residential rates of $1.26 per week to go towards the operating costs of the new Corowa Aquatic Centre. Following the proposed change, average residential rates in the Federation Council area will remain in the lowest 20 percent in the state.
In approving council’s application, IPART imposed conditions requiring the additional income from the 6% portion, to be used strictly for the purpose outlined in the application, being to support the operational costs and ongoing asset life costs of the new $10 million Corowa Aquatic Centre.
Council’s application was one of 11 applications submitted by NSW councils to IPART for assessment in this year’s round.
Federation Council Mayor Pat Bourke said council was pleased to hear the outcome of its application and noted that the decision to submit the rate variation application was one that no councillor took lightly.
“Councillors ultimately agreed that in order for our council area to improve its liveability for residents, grow our destination identity and ensure our assets, such as pools are maintained in-line with our community’s expectations, it was necessary to apply for a Special Rate Variation,” he said.
“In making the decision in February this year, councillors considered a final report from staff which recognised the feedback from residents, who responded through public meetings, surveys and submissions during the lengthy consultation phases, supporting some level of rate increase above the rate peg amount to go towards quality infrastructure projects such as this.
“This is an asset that is already showing us that it has numerous benefits for today’s Federation Council community, and visitors, it will no doubt continue for future generations.”
Community engagement meetings relating to council’s draft budget, four-year operation plan 2018-2022, delivery program and financial plans including its 10-year plan have been held in Corowa, Howlong and Morundah, with a total of 14 community members, nine, four and one respectively, attending.
At a two-hour community engagement meeting in Mulwala on Monday, 17 local residents attended and showed plenty of interest. It is clear that the subject of rates will dominate business in council, with councils under increasing pressures and challenges as outlined in the Free Press last week.
Meetings are to be held in Urana and Oaklands on May 20 and May 26 before feedback, including any submissions, is considered before formal adoption of the budget at council’s next monthly meeting on June 15. Submissions must reach council before 5.00pm, Tuesday, June 1.