Rate rise funds to be utilised from July

Port Stephens has an incredible natural environment that needs to be protected, maintained and managed. Photo: Marian Sampson.

AMIDST a national cost-of-living crisis and housing shortage, residents in Port Stephens have been stumping up extra funds to Council through a rate increase, otherwise known as a Special Rate Variation (SRV).

Adding to the financial pinch for property owners is the SRV coinciding with updated land values which were assessed at a peak in the property market.

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Zoe Pattison, Director of Corporate Strategy and Support at Port Stephens Council told News Of The Area, “Council’s Special Rate Variation (SRV) commenced on 1 July 2023 with a 9.5 percent increase each year for three years.”

Prior to the SRV being approved, Council promised $7.1 million for roads, $2.3 million for the environment, $2.3 million for waterways and $1.4 million for looking after public spaces if the rate rise went ahead.

After a year of securing Council’s financial position, Ms Pattison said funds raised from residents’ increased rates are about to be utilised.

“The funds generated from the SRV in the first year are to maintain the current levels of service we provide to the community which are under pressure due to inflation,” Ms Pattison said.

“From 1 July 2024 Council will start to use the funds as part of the enhanced service program that was outlined in the community engagement process.

“Council’s Long Term Financial Plan forecasts that the funds generated from the SRV will maintain the current levels of service we provide to the community as well as provide enhanced services to fix our roads, look after our public spaces, waterways and foreshores and protect our natural environment.

“Financial sustainability has always been a priority of Council.”

Ms Pattison said improving and maintaining roads remains the highest priority.

“The additional income will be spent on priority areas identified by the community – fixing our roads is the highest priority and in later years looking after our public space, waterways and foreshores, and protecting our natural environment,” she said.

“It is critical that we manage our resources in a responsible and sustainable way so we can continue to deliver services, maintain our infrastructure and invest in our community.

“We focus on doing more with less – we look for opportunities to optimise our income, minimise our expenditure and diversify our revenue streams.”


Our public spaces need looking after. Photo: Marian Sampson.

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