Council consults on rates options to improve infrastructure and financial sustainability

17 October 2014

Mosman Council is considering making application to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) for a special rate variation in 2015, and wants to know local views on three possible rating options before deciding to proceed.

Consideration of a special rate variation has been prompted by the impending expiry of the Community Environmental Contract (or CEC), a 5% environmental levy due to end in 2016-17. Council has reviewed its long term financial forecasts ahead of the levy’s expiry to come up with three possible rating options to take Council into the future.

Following the review Council decided to consider a special rate variation to fund further works to improve local assets including roads, footpaths, buildings, parks, drainage and marine structures, reducing the current estimated $8.6m infrastructure backlog, and to boost its financial health in the longer term.

The three rating options Council has released for community comment include:

Option 1 – This assumes expiry of the current 5% environmental levy, with no replacement levy proposed. Annual rate increases will be limited to the annual State Government rate peg, which is estimated to be 3%. Under this option average rates will fall by 2% in 2015-16 (and increase by an estimated 3% in following years). However, Council’s infrastructure backlog will increase and service levels will need to reduce over time.

Option 2 – This includes a special rate variation of 8% in 2015-16, comprising a 5% levy equivalent in value to the expiring environmental levy, plus the 3% rate peg. Under this option rate rises would be comparable with existing levels, service levels could generally be maintained and Council would go some way to reducing its infrastructure backlog. Some service reductions, however, may be necessary over time for Council to achieve a balanced budget.

Option 3 – This includes a special rate variation of 13% in 2015-16, comprising a 10% levy plus the 3% rate peg. This option would allow service levels to be significantly improved, particularly in the area of asset renewal and maintenance. Council would be able to clear its infrastructure backlog over the next 10 years and achieve operating surpluses over the same period, creating a stronger local authority for Mosman.

The three options are explained in a brochure being delivered to residents, businesses and ratepayers next week. Reply-paid postcards are included with the brochure so that community members can indicate their preferred option to Council.

Detailed information and opportunities for online feedback are also available on the ‘Shaping Mosman’s Future’ page of Council’s website www.mosman.nsw.gov.au, and at Mosman Civic Centre and Mosman Library.

A Public Meeting will be held on this issue at Mosman Civic Centre on Monday 27 October, 2014 at 7pm. An information stall will also be held at Mosman Markets on Saturday 1 November 2014 between 9am and 1pm.

The consultation period is open until 16 November 2014.