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Last week for Special Rate Variation survey

One more week to have your say on Byron Shire Council’s proposed Special Rate Variation.

The three options being considered, range from an increase of 7.5 per cent, 10 per cent and up to 12.5 per cent.

The rate rise options have the potential to raise about $16.5 million to $28 million over the four year period and include Council borrowing an additional $2 million each year for three years to help maintain and renew infrastructure.

Mayor Simon Richardson said a question he was being asked this week, was what surety could be given that the additional funding would be spent on infrastructure.

“An outcome of special rate variations includes the requirement to annually report back to the community on funding and how the works are being progressed.

“In the past four years we have worked hard to improve our ageing infrastructure and source the funding it desperately needs.

“We’ve increased our capital works roads budget from $4 million to $27 million in 2016 through releasing reserve funding and grants for key infrastructure projects.

“In 2015/16 we added over $23 million in new and renewed assets, versus $11 million in the previous year.

“Plus pay parking is on track to raise an additional two million annually to help fund our infrastructure program,” he said.

The last financial year, has also seen Byron Shire Council meet the six key NSW Office of Local Government’s financial benchmarks.

Mayor Richardson said over the past four years Council has achieved a solid revenue base from its own sources and not over-relied upon grants.

“Our loans have reduced, our capacity to borrow additional funds is above the state benchmark and our short term liquidity is strong and stable.

“However, even with our continued focus on finance and infrastructure, the thirty years plus of rate pegging and underfunding cannot be improved without the help of a special rate variation.

“While Council is committed to looking at ways to find new recurrent revenue sources, improve operation efficiencies and releasing underutilised assets, right now we need the community to consider a special rate variation,” he said.

The new rate would come into effect from 2017/18 and would raise urgently needed funds to fix council’s ageing infrastructure. Funding raised would go into infrastructure such as roads, drains, bridges, stormwater drainage, buildings and open spaces.

The Special Rate Variation would impact the general rate amount (ordinary land rate) on your rates notice. It would not affect other service charges such as waste, water, sewer and stormwater.

All of the three rate rise options include the NSW state government’s estimated rate peg of 2.5%; they also have varying impacts on assets and service quality. At the end of the four year period the Special Rate Variation increase would be built into the general rate base and permanently retained.

You can find out more at http://www.byron.nsw.gov.au/funding-our-future and complete the online survey by Monday, 28 November.

Media contact:

Media Communication Officer
Byron Shire Council
Ph: 02 6626 7320

Byron Shire is located at Australia's eastern-most point with a population of almost 29,000. It is a thriving community where residents and visitors live, work and play in a sustainable environment and where Council strives to deliver the highest standard of local government services and infrastructure.