We aren't alone: rate hikes approved for 22 NSW councils
CLARENCE Valley ratepayers are not alone in facing rate rises.
Three other North Coast councils have already received approval for rate rises from July 1.
Local ratepayers will not have to dig deeper than the 2.4% pegged rate rise for 2015-16.
But Coffs Harbour, Ballina and Kyogle residents will start paying the higher charges from July 1.
This year the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) has approved special variation applications made by 22 of the 152 councils across NSW.
IPART chairman, Dr Peter Boxall said all but one of the applications for special variations met the assessment guidelines of the Office of Local Government and were approved in full.
One application was partially approved due to inadequate community consultation.
"While it is up to elected councils to determine whether they increase rates in line with our determinations, most approvals would lead to increases in average rates of less than $1.50 per week in 2015-16," Dr Boxall said.
"If implemented in full, 10 of the applications approved would lead to average increases in residential rates of less than $1 a week in 2015-16 including the 2.4% rate peg, six approvals will lead to increases of between $1 and $1.50 a week, and five will increase rates by between $1.50 and $2.50 a week. The remaining council, Gwydir, has the largest increase of $3.33 a week."
The average possible rate rise for Clarence Valley ratepayers is clouded by the number of rating categories council operates.
During debate Cr Sue Hughes said the average rate rise would be $1 a week, but Cr Margaret McKenna argued it varied so much the average was meaningless.
The council's director - corporate Ashley Lindsay agreed this was an area council needed to work on and flagged a move to a flat $390 flat base rate across the Valley in the next couple of years.
Dr Boxall said all councils lodging an application must demonstrate the need for the additional revenue, that their community has been appropriately engaged and that the council is taking steps to improve productivity and contain council costs.
Full reports can be found on IPART's website http://www.ipart.nsw.gov.au.