RATES ON RISE? Ratepayers could have their rates increased by 2.7 per cent next year.
RATES ON RISE? Ratepayers could have their rates increased by 2.7 per cent next year. Pogonici

Council given green light to increase rates again

TWEED ratepayers will be forking out about an extra $30 to pay their bills next year, if Tweed Shire Council chooses to adopt the latest rate peg.

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal today announced its latest rate peg, allowing councils to increase the revenue they can collect from ratepayers by a maximum of 2.7 per cent for the 2019-20 financial year.

If council decided to adopt the changes, the minimum rate for Tweed residential and farmland would increase by about $28.25, while business ratepayers would be paying an extra $31.05 on their bills.

Council's finance and revenue executive manager Michael Chorlton said he predicted council would most likely adopt the 2.7 per cent increase to help meet ongoing costs.

"The Tweed Shire Council Long Term Financial Plan estimates the 2019-20 rate increase at 2.5 per cent," Mr Chorlton said.

"While I cannot pre-empt the council's decisions on rate increases, I would suggest with growing funding pressures on existing services that the 2.7 per cent would be recommended by staff."


Michael Chorlton at the Murwillumbah community centre.
Photo: John Gass / Daily News
LOOKING AHEAD: Council's finance executive manager Michael Chorlton believes council will adopt a rate increase in 2019-20. John Gass

"It is important to note that the IPART rating announcements are based on the Local Government Cost Index - much like a CPI for Councils - which is derived from the actual costs increases councils in NSW have experienced in the preceding year, which is a more accurate reflection of events than councils' advanced estimates."

While it is up to each individual council to decide whether to meet the maximum rate peg, Tweed Shire Council has voted each year since 2014-15 to increase its rates to match the allowable increase set by IPART.

Tweed ratepayers this year saw an increase of at least $50 to their rate bill.

Over the past five years, council has increased its rates by:

  • 2.3 per cent in 2014-15
  • 2.4 per cent in 2015-16
  • 1.8 per cent in 2016-17
  • 1.5 per cent in 2017-18
  • 2.3 per cent in 2018-19

IPART chair Dr Peter Boxall said next year's rate peg was higher than it had been in recent years, primarily due to increases in labour and energy costs and higher construction costs for roads, drains, footpaths, kerbing and bridges.

"Since the rate peg applies to general income in total, and not to individual rate assessments, it is up to each council to determine whether to apply the allowed increase in full and how to allocate the increase between households, businesses and other ratepayer categories," Dr Boxall said.

"Similarly, if councils want to increase their revenue by more than the rate peg they will need to consult with their communities before applying to IPART for a special variation."

The rate increase of 2.7 per cent would be effective for the 2019-20 financial year starting on July 1, 2019.

"Council will seek community input into the Delivery Program and associated budget and Long Term Financial Plan during the first six months of 2019," Mr Chorlton said.