Council rates have been top of the agenda recently with the Northern Beaches Council's Draft Delivery & Operational Plans, Budget and Resourcing Strategy all going on public exhibition this week.
Concerns were raised about the proposed rate rise (with is capped at 2.3%) when many were expecting a rate freeze, or reduction in rates, as was promised as a result of the amalgamation.
In fact, the State Government did enforce a 'rate freeze' but it was on the basis that no ratepayer would have an increase in rates any more than would have been charged by their previous council. Council rates have been capped by the State Government for about 40 years with annual charges calculated based on a local government CPI formula.
Last week Council voted to keep up with inflation. There will be no rate-rise outside of the capped 2.3% suggested by the NSW Government (via IPART) for all Councils across NSW.
This equates to an average of $31 per household per year, which will be offset as a result in reductions to domestic waste charges by as much as $94 for former Manly Residents.
Manly Ratepayer Costs Less Due to Waste Collection Savings
For a standard 80 Litre service the proposed charge for the former Manly ratepayers will be reduced from $630 to $536 which is a 15% decrease or a $94 saving. (The charge for former Pittwater ratepayers would be reduced from $609 to $518 , also a 15% decrease or a $91 saving. The former Warringah ratepayers would be charged $389 which equates to no increase in charges.)
Some Important Facts
It is interesting to note that when the three Councils were amalgamated in May 2016, only Warringah was free of debt. Pittwater had debts of $24,035m and Manly had a whopping $66,350m (including $30m borrowed just days before the amalgamation against the yet to be approved Manly Oval Car Park). This overall debt of $90,385m has now been reduced to $37,821m.
What Have the Saving Been And Where Are They Being Spent?:
The Administrator took the decision to create a "Merger Savings Fund", with savings set aside and allocated to specific projects until 2021.
To date Council has proposed to reinvested amalgamation savings into the following projects:
You can view the Council's Draft Delivery & Operational Plans, Budget and Resourcing Strategy here.
Candy Bingham, Deputy Mayor, Northern Beaches Council. Background in marketing, public relations & community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.