Central Coast Council has notified the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) of its intention to apply for a Special Variation (SV) of either a one-off 10% remaining in the rate base for seven years or a one-off 15%, remaining permanently in the rate base, inclusive of the 2021/22 rate peg of 2%.
Acting CEO, Rik Hart said the increase was needed for Council’s long-term financial security and ongoing service delivery.
“We have been open with the community about our financial situation and are taking significant steps to help our bottom line – we are selling assets, reducing staff numbers and materials and contracts, reducing the capital works program, looking at fees and charges and we have been able to secure further loans,” Mr Hart said.
“The last thing we want to do is put more burden on our ratepayers. But if we do not have a substantial increase in our rate income as well, then even harder decisions will need to be made.
“For our community that would mean a significant reduction or even elimination of services that they need and rely on us to provide. Our first priority has to be the repayment of restricted funds, which were unlawfully used, so that does not become a burden for future generations.
“This is a conversation our community has to have, and we want to hear from as many residents and ratepayers as possible,” he said.
“I urge all community members to keep an open mind, consider the information put before them, and to provide feedback over the coming weeks before Council determines in early February whether or not to formally apply to IPART for a Special Variation.”
Information on the options being considered for an SV as well as a survey for ratepayers and residents can be found at yourvoiceourcoast.com.
Council will consider a report about the Special Variation options, inclusive of community feedback at the Council Meeting on 8 February.