IPART partly approves Kempsey rate rise

KEMPSEY Shire Council has been given permission to raise rates by 24 percent over the next two years by the NSW Government’s independent pricing regulator.

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) has announced a partial approval of Council’s application for a special rate variation, approving only the first two of the applications for a 42 percent increase over three years.

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The Special Rate Variation (SRV) application proposed a 7.9 percent increase in property rates for the first year, followed by fifteen percent increases over the following two years.

IPART have approved the first two years of the proposal.

Kempsey Shire Council Mayor Leo Hauville said that IPART have recognised the significant financial pressures Council faces, while acknowledging the concerns of ratepayers if the full increase was applied.

“This partial approval supports the need to generate increased income, and streamline services, to secure financial sustainability. Council will have to remain focussed on reducing costs, and ensuring the right services are being delivered in the most efficient way,” said Cr Hauville.

“The Long Term Financial Plan, currently on public exhibition, includes a range of actions in the Financial Sustainability Program.

“These now become even more critical to deliver.”

The rate variation approved for the 2024-25 financial year is 3.2 percent above the already approved rate peg increase of 4.7 percent.

In dollar terms the total average increase per household in the next financial year, including the SRV amount, will be $100.

Every year IPART sets a rate peg for each council in NSW which caps the maximum amount councils can increase the general income they collect from ratepayers (rates income).

IPART set the core rate peg for 2024-25 between 4.5 percent to 5.5 percent.

There is also an allowance for some councils that experienced population growth.

If the elected councillors agree that a council needs additional revenue, the council can apply to IPART for a special variation to increase rates income by more than the rate peg.

IPART assesses special variation applications and minimum rate increase applications against criteria set out in guidelines issued by the Office of Local Government.

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