MidCoast Council set to apply for rate rise

At last week’s MidCoast Council meeting, Administrator John Turner gave the go-ahead to notify the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) of its intention to apply for a special rate variation (SRV).

Independent researchers Jetty Research are currently undertaking phone surveys with randomly selected MidCoast residents in relation to the SRV proposal.

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The survey can also be taken online at ‘Have your say’ on the MidCoast Council website.

Concerns over the backlog of maintenance and repair work to MidCoast roads and bridges is behind Council’s decision to apply for the SRV.

Council estimate $150 million is needed to address the backlog of work and have identified a $5 million shortfall in funding per year for sealed roads.

Council believe the proposed five percent rate rise over four years will achieve the funding level required to fix the growing list of infrastructure repairs.

This includes a rate increase of 2.5 percent each year for the rate-peg as specified by IPART and 2.5 percent each year for roads and bridges.

Interim General Manager Glenn Handford said through efficiencies and savings identified since the merger, Council has earmarked $18 million for roads and bridges over the next four years.

“This alone is simply not enough,” he said.

“If we don’t take action now to increase our rates income, our community will see further deterioration of our road and bridge infrastructure and an ongoing increase in the asset backlog.”

The online survey will remain open until 4.30pm on Monday 5 December.

Council expects to lodge their formal application for the SRV in February 2017.

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