Sewage, drainage and the Kempsey Shire’s SRV

The three Standard Rate Variation options being considered by Kempsey Shire Council.

KEMPSEY Shire Mayor Leo Hauville and Council representatives joined a 40-strong crowd in Stuarts Point last week to discuss three key areas of local concern – sewage, drainage and the Special Rate Variation (SRV).

Residents in attendance at the Stuarts Point and District Community Organisation (SPaDCO) meeting on Wednesday 25 October were primarily keen to examine the Council’s financial future and the consequences of the proposed SRV.

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Regarding the SRV, Kempsey Shire Council (KSC) pointed out that it will face significant challenges over the next ten years if they are going to meet community expectations on service delivery and maintenance of assets such as roads, bridges and community facilities.

KSC staff informed residents that three options have been developed for public consideration, showing a sliding scale and timeline of possible rate increases that should deliver varying levels of improved asset conditions.

Any potential rate rise is not applied to the total rates bill, only the General Fund (or property rate) line on the bill.

The SRV, if approved, could mean three incremental rate rises between July 2024 and July 2026, totalling either a 51 percent, 85 percent or 94 percent increase from the current level.

To implement the SRV, Council must apply to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal ( IPART) to seek approval, which may take effect by July 2024.

Stephen Mitchell, Acting General Manager of Kempsey Shire Council, said, “The three options deliver financial sustainability along with varying levels of improved asset condition and include a rate increase each year for three years between 2024 and 2026, which would then be permanently retained as the rating level.

“However, it’s important to stress that no decision has been made yet.”

With the public submissions period closing on October 29, a report will be presented to Councillors at KSC’s November meeting, who will determine if an application should be made to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) for a Special Rate Variation.

“We understand the community’s concern about the increase to their rates while there is continual cost of living pressures, Council is feeling those pressures too.

“It would be imprudent and irresponsible of Council to not address the forecast financial challenges,” said Mr Mitchell.

“If Council decide to apply to IPART we will inform the community of how to make submissions directly to the regulatory body ahead of any determination in May next year.”

Ratepayers are reminded that the increase would apply to the property rate line, being the first line on the rate notices, not the total amount.

Resources and information are available on to inform ratepayers of the challenging decision ahead.

SPaDCO is preparing a submission that outlines the unique SRV implications for the demography of the immediate district.

Other discussions, led by Grant Dennis, outlined the progress of the Stuarts Point stormwater and drainage study required for grant funding, and the Sewerage Project Consultation Program feeding into the Environmental Impact Study (EIS) for submission 22 December.

Council’s Environmental Health Manager, Jack Dickey, answered queries regarding the ways to prolong the lifespan and safety of ageing residential septic systems, and advised that recommendations can be found on the KSC website.


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