Council anger at rate pegging

NOBODY in local government on the Coffs Coast is happy about the NSW Government’s decision yesterday to fix rate pegging for 2010/20111 at 2.6 per cent.

“It was certainly lower than we expected,” said Coffs Harbour City Council’s director of corporate business, Craig Milburn.

“We expected between 3-3.5 per cent. It will have a significant impact for us, as it will to most councils.

“We will have to look at the impact on the budget which we have just commenced preparing and which will be going to councillors in the coming weeks and months.”

Mr Milburn said the Minister had used the Consumer Price Index in setting the rate peg, but the building index was often significantly higher than the CPI, which affected councils because they were buying physical items, while staff award wage increases were not linked to the CPI.

Nambucca Mayor Cr Rhonda Hoban said Nambucca Shire Council had already decided to apply for an additional 1% above the rate peg to help funds loans for specific projects which should have been funded under disaster funding and were refused.

Cr Hoban said these included a major landslip on Riverside Drive at Nambucca Heads where four houses were sitting above the old Pacific Highway, handed over to council by the RTA, with top side batters which do not meet RTA standards.

This is the location where an 80 year old woman narrowly avoided being pushed into the rising river during floods in February 2009, which has not yet been stabilised.

“Our cost increases are well beyond 2.6 %” Cr Hoban said.

Bellingen Mayor Mark Troy said the figure ‘would put us further backwards’.

NSW Minister for Local Government Barbara Perry said the rate pegging figure reflected a range of economic factors, predominantly inflation.

The annual rate peg in recent years has been: 2006/07: 3.6 %; 2007/08: 3.4 %; 2008/09 3.2%; and 2009/10: 3.5%,



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