Thursday, May 30, 2024

Port Macquarie begins review of business rating model

Port Macquarie-Hastings Council (PMHC) has engaged a consulting firm to undertake an independent review of Council’s current business rating model, including the Town Centre Master Plan (TCMP) component of the Port Macquarie CBD business rate.

Earlier this year, Councillors resolved to conduct a detailed independent review of the business rating model, historical TCMP processes and management structures.

It says the review will ensure that comprehensive feedback from the community and key stakeholders is captured during a detailed engagement process.

The review has now commenced, with the first round of interviews being conducted with Councillors and key stakeholders. A series of co-design workshops with local businesses and key stakeholders are scheduled over the coming weeks.

The review will also ensure that a range of activities with key stakeholders and the broader community is undertaken. This will include meetings and online surveys via PMHC’s Have Your Say community engagement platform, said PMHC Group Manager Commercial and Business Services, Ashley Grummitt.

Mr Grummitt said the review will provide recommendations for the funding options and rating structures for future development and maintenance of the Port Macquarie CBD – and potentially other business centres across the region.

“The Town Centre Master Plan (TCMP) component of the Port Macquarie CBD business rate has played a critical role in funding ongoing improvements and providing a high level of maintenance in our CBD area over many years,” he said.

“The current TCMP levy applies to business property owners located in a defined area of the CBD, to help fund streetscape, landscaping and beautification works identified in the Port Macquarie CBD.”

Since its introduction in 1994, the TCMP component has funded $19.7 million in CBD capital improvement works and $5.2 million in CBD maintenance works.

“Through the extensive independent engagement, we hope to understand community sentiment around the levy – as well as the kind of services they want maintained.”

“This review will not only incorporate feedback regarding future options for the Port Macquarie CBD, but will also look at other areas of the LGA including the Wauchope and Laurieton business centres.

“By doing this, we are aiming to provide fair and equitable rating structures and sustainable funding options for future development and maintenance in our key business centres,” said Mr Grummitt.

He said rates and annual charges were critical to ensuring the Council was able to provide capacity to deliver services and projects to the community.

Community and stakeholder engagement is planned to be undertaken throughout late August and September, with a view to reporting back to the October ordinary council meeting for further consideration, said Mr Grummitt.

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