COFFS Harbour City Councillors have unanimously agreed not to recoup Council’s previously deferred 2020/21 Special Business Rate revenue.
Not recouping the revenue will provide permanent financial relief for Coffs Harbour’s city centre businesses.
The recommendation was made to Council at its ordinary meeting on 11 February, following advice received from the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART).
Council resolved at its meeting on 26 March 2020 to defer the 2020/21 Special Rate for city centre businesses and associated infrastructure works.
Deferring the 2020/21 Special Business Rate was an early COVID-19 pandemic response initiative by Council.
At its meeting on 20 August 2020, the City Centre Master Plan Committee (CCMPC) agreed to recommend Council not collect the special rate in following years.
The committee assists Council to achieve a vision for the City Centre Master Plan, and consults with relevant stakeholders.
“Recouping the rate revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic recovery period, and against the recommendation of the CCMPC, would present a reputational risk to Council and is not recommended,” a Council report stated.
Permanently forgoing the 2020/21 Special Business Rate revenue will reduce the remaining revenue available to fund City Centre Masterplan activities and works by $807,768.
Council adopted the City Centre Special Rate Capital Expenditure Budget for the 2020/21 financial year and following years to 2023 at its meeting on 22 October 2020, including shade sails ($247,000), street furniture ($50,000), Park Avenue upgrade ($400,000), and street reconfiguration design ($130,000).
By Emma DARBIN