Hornsby Shire Council says it will progress an application for a Special Rate Variation (SRV) to ensure it meets its legislated obligation to manage its budget responsibly.
Hornsby Shire Mayor Philip Ruddock explained that the decision to progress the application for an SRV had not been taken lightly.
“For over a decade, Hornsby Shire Council has been making tough decisions to reduce expenditure and to maintain levels of service in an increasingly difficult financial climate. The last time we applied to IPART for an SRV was 12 years ago,” said Mayor Ruddock.
“Following careful consideration and taking on board the extensive community feedback received, we have adopted the Long Term Financial Plan for 2023/24 to 2032/33 which outlines how we can ensure a sound financial future.”
He said Council would now progress the application for an SRV to be spread across its first four years.
Should Council’s application to IPART for an SRV be successful, rates would rise by 8.5% in 2023/24, 7.5% in 2024/25, 6.5% in 2025/26 and 5.5% in 2026/27, which includes the annual rate peg set by IPART.
“We are acutely aware that some of our residents are experiencing financial hardship at present and feel it is important to address concerns around a possible rise in rates. For this reason, should IPART approve our application for an SRV, we have to committed increasing our pensioner rate concession by $50, to $300 per annum, commencing from the 2023/24 financial year,” Mayor Ruddock said.
“We will also review our Hardship Policy in accordance with both the guidelines provided by the Office of Local Government and current industry best practice prior to the adoption of the 2023/24 Delivery Program and Budget and develop a comprehensive communications plan to ensure that our community is aware of options for support outlined within this Policy.”
Council will notify IPART of its intention to apply by COB today, and progress its SRV application so that it is completed and submitted to IPART by the due date of 3 February 2023.