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Rates to rise once again

COFFS Harbour ratepayers will fork out an extra 7.75% in residential rates in the next financial year to fund a multi-million dollar infrastructure maintenance backlog.

Works to be funded by the rate-hike feature heavily in the council's draft 2016/17 budget and 2016-2020 delivery program - documents that will be considered by councillors at tomorrow's meeting.

Big ticket budgeted items for 2016-17 include $1.97 million for CBD master plan works, $9.2 million for the Jetty4Shores project and a $14.84 million spend on road maintenance.

Mayor Denise Knight and general manager Steve McGrath said the budget "continues the trajectory established by council in 2011 to secure the financial sustainability of the organisation."

Budget forecasts show the council's rate revenue will be boosted by $4.2 million in revenue from consecutive rate increases approved by IPART last year.

It means the average household will be paying an additional $132.06 in rates and charges in 2016/17.

Proposed allocations of those funds include an additional $677,156 for road works and $492,468 for building renewals.

The price freeze in water and sewerage annual charges will remain in place, but the councils' income from fees and charges are forecast to rise by 11% to $33.1million.

The council claims the rise "reflects increases in staff delivery and administrative costs."

Proposed new fees include changes to the hire of sport grounds, reflecting new classifications of ovals.

Day fees for senior matches would remain at $3360 for facilities including Richardson Park, reduce to $2520 for grounds including Sawtell Oval but increase to $4200 at Toormina Velodrome and Coffs Leisure Park fields 1-3.

The budget documents estimate a net surplus of $18.5 million for 2016-17.

The council's Transformation to Sustainability program is included in the financial estimates, reflecting the overhaul of the way it carries out its operations.

If adopted, the documents will be placed on public exhibition from May 2-30.



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