Rate increase application from Bellingen Shire
BELLINGEN Shire Council will seek approval for a rate rise in 2018-19.
The Shire is one of 15 local government bodies across NSW to have notified the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) of their intention to apply for a special variation to increase their general income above the rate peg.
Coffs Harbour City did not advise of seeking an increase.
However Clarence Valley, Kempsey, Ballina and Lismore were other North Coast councils intending to make application.
All have until February 12, 2018, to consult with their communities before presenting a case to IPART.
Special variations are the mechanism for councils to use if they want to increase their general income by more than the rate peg to fund items such as infrastructure or additional services,or to improve their financial sustainability.
The rate peg for 2018-19 is 2.3%, set by IPART by measuring changes in the Local Government Cost Index, which includes changes in average costs faced by councils, and considering a factor to reflect improvements in productivity.
IPART will begin assessing the applications against criteria set out in the Office of Local Government's guidelines from February 2017.
These criteria include demonstrating the need for the additional income, evidence of adequate community awareness and an assessment of the reasonableness of the increase and impact on ratepayers.