The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) has approved Kiama Council’s application to increase rates by 16.42 per cent over the next two years.
The cumulative increase includes a 9.83 per cent rise from 1 July 2019, followed by a further 6 per cent increase from 1 July 2020. All percentages include the 2.7 per cent rate peg applicable to all NSW councils in 2019/20, and an estimated rate peg for subsequent years.
The increase in revenue will be permanently retained in the rate base.
“The approval completes a range of matters that Council has addressed over the past two years, which formed part of our submission to remain as a standalone Council,” says Council’s General Manager, Kerry McMurray.
“It ensures that we are able to renew and maintain our community infrastructure to an acceptable standard and enables Council to meet the performance indicators under the Fit for the Future regime.
“Council currently has over $350 million of community assets to renew and maintain to meet community needs and expectations.
“The SRV will enable us to do this over the long term.”
The additional revenue of around $3 million over the next two years, and its ongoing effect, will be included in the budget that will go before councillors at the May Meeting.
In announcing the approval, IPART Chair Dr Paul Paterson said, “Kiama Council was able to meet the criteria for approval of the special variation by demonstrating a clear need for the additional revenue to fund asset renewals.
“Although we noted some shortcomings in the Council’s consultation with its community we assessed it to be sufficient overall.
“We found the impact to be reasonable and that the Council is taking steps to improve productivity and contain costs.”
Based on the Council’s application, IPART says the average residential rate would increase by $91 in 2019/20 and by $187 over two years.
The average business rate would rise by $83 in 2019-20 and by $190 over two years, while farmland rates would rise by $158 in 2019-20 and by $325 over two years.
The approved Special Variations replace the current temporary Special Variation of 3.7 per cent, which applied for 2018/9.
There will be an incremental increase to the Pensioner Rebate Scheme to minimise the impact of the proposed increase on pensioners.