Thursday, 24 May 2018

Council rates are an investment in your local area and community. They go toward the provision of services such as our libraries, aquatic centres, youth and seniors services and lifeguards as well as maintaining local roads, footpaths, street lighting, sportsfields and protecting our environment. 

The following are answers to some of the common questions Council has recently been asked. 

Q. Is there a rate rise? 

A. Household rates are proposed to increase to cover the increasing costs all Councils experience for goods and utilities and to ensure continuation of current Council services. 

The increase is 2.3% in line with NSW Government’s Independent Pricing Tribunal (IPART) determination of its rates cap which is based on the Local Government Cost Index. 

However, for many of our residents their annual charges from Council will actually decrease due to efficiencies Council has been able to generate in the management of our waste services.

Over the coming years Council is forecasting further cost savings due to the amalgamation and these can be invested in community infrastructure, more services or putting downward pressure on rates.  

Q. What is the Local Government Cost Index?

A. Rates, just like other living costs including health insurance, petrol, power bills, etc experience increases year on year. 

For Council this is the Local Government Cost Index which was determined at 2.3% this year by the NSW Government (via IPART) and applies to all NSW Councils. This increase assists Councils across NSW to maintain service delivery at their current levels, covering the increased costs Councils experience for the goods and utilities. 

If this Index is not applied, current service levels would have to be scaled back. 

For 2018/19 twelve New South Wales Councils have received increases above the 2.3%

Q. I thought the state government froze rates for amalgamated Councils?

A. The term ‘rate freeze’ relates to the NSW Government commitment to freeze the existing rate pathways for amalgamated Council’s until 2020. This means that ratepayers in new councils will pay no more for their rates than they would have in their pre-merger council area for four years. This commitment remains unchanged.  

Q. Where will the revenue raised from the 2.3% be spent?

A. This will be used to cover cost increases to ensure that the services we currently deliver to the community are maintained. It reflects the rise in costs to Council in providing services to the community like rising water and electricity costs. 

Rates go towards the provision of services and improvements in infrastructure. In the next financial year we will invest $436.5million an incredible array of services and significant improvements across the Northern Beaches. 

You can learn more about what Council delivers for the community by reviewing our draft Delivery Program and Budget or reading Where is the money spent?
Q. What will it mean to me? 

A. The rate rise recommended in the draft Budget currently on exhibition equates to around $32 a year for residents who pay average Council rates. 

However for many residents this will be more than offset by a reduction in Council’s annual waste collection charges.  

Q. Why the change to domestic waste charges?  

A. Council is committed to getting the best value for money for ratepayers and we have found efficiencies in the management of our waste services. These efficiencies mean we are able to pass on savings to our residents. 

All former Manly and Pittwater residents will receive a reduction of more than $90 for their annual waste charges: and former Warringah residents, who already pay significantly lower waste charges than the other two amalgamated councils, will have no changes to their existing waste charges. 

Q. How do rates work with land values? 

Council is only able to collect the same amount in rates each year plus the IPART “rate cap” amount. However, generally every three years when new valuations are generated by the NSW Valuer-General there is some rebalancing of the rates between individual properties.

What this means is that those residents that have had a large increase in the value of their land will possibly see a change in their rates. For every rates notice that increases, one will decrease in areas where the land value did not rise to the same extent. So in effect this land valuation process redistributes the rates. This process is akin to dividing up a pie in different size slices but the pie itself does not increase in size! This is a complex concept but is imposed by law on all NSW Councils as to the way they collect rates.

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