Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Armidale puts 50% rates increase to public

Armidale Regional Council is seeking community input on a proposal to apply to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) for a permanent Special Rate Variation (SRV) of around 50% over three years, which would take effect from 2023-24. 

Mayor, Sam Coupland says Council is determined to drive a jobs and growth strategy to change the fortunes of the region and get on top of a maintenance backlog for community infrastructure. 

The Mayor says there are two clear options for the Council – an SRV as part of the solution to restore the real cost of maintaining assets and providing services to grow and be sustainable, or a managed decline where the state of assets and infrastructure continue to worsen due to an inability to be able to afford to maintain them.

“Obviously, service cuts will have significant impacts on the community, and this is not Council’s preferred option,” he said.

“We want people to understand the issues and to participate in these forums to express their views knowing the full picture. The community engagement process will inform Council in considering whether to proceed with an application for a Special Rate Variation.”

The Mayor says that in three years, the SRV would generate an additional $10.1 million per year over and above the $1.5 million per year that council would gain via the already allowable annual increase.

“The additional $10.1 million per year income from the SRV in 2026 will enable council to bridge the infrastructure renewal funding gap of an average of $6.9 million per year and invest an additional $3.2 million per annum in operational service delivery.”

“This is in contrast to $2 million per annum in cuts under the ‘managed decline’ scenario if Council does not pursue an increase to land rates,” he says.

Residents and ratepayers are being invited to read about the issues and have their say over the next six weeks.

“No matter what Council does, an SRV is required to restore the real cost of maintaining assets and providing services to grow and be sustainable. We want to ensure that we can deliver on our vision to grow our region into the future,” said Mayor Coupland. 

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