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IPART approves Byron Shire Council's special rate variation

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) have approved Byron Shire Council’s special rate variation of 7.5 per cent per year for four years.

The cumulative increase is 33.55% over four years, raising $11.72 million, and will be allocated to reducing Council’s infrastructure backlog and improving financial sustainability. The special rate variation includes the rate peg.

The additional funding will be spent on roads, stormwater drainage, rural drainage and culverts, buildings, public amenities and parks. Council will also borrow an additional $6 million over the next four years to fund a bridge renewal program.

The special rate variation increase will come into effect from 1 July 2017.

Byron Shire Mayor Simon Richardson welcomed the decision and said the additional funding was a much needed boost for key infrastructure renewal.

“Whilst it won’t be an overnight fix, the additional funding will help slow down the deterioration of essential infrastructure assets.

“Progress reporting on asset renewal is also a key requirement of the funding approval,” he said.

Mayor Richardson also highlighted that the conversation on how the Shire manages tourism in the upcoming decade, will be critical.

“The two million plus visitors arriving each year are having an impact on our assets and they have very limited financial input back to Council other than through pay parking.

“During the consultation on the SRV, our residents were adamant that visitors, businesses and other levels of government needed to contribute more to the upkeep of our infrastructure.

“Plus, we are now facing the added pressure of the airport upgrades in the north and south and this will bring even more visitors into our region.

“How we find the balance between supporting the economic growth that tourism brings and maintaining our assets will be crucial to Byron Shire’s values, lifestyle and amenity.

“The development of a new tourism management plan will be central to our community conversations over the upcoming year,” he said.

Mayor Richardson also noted that Council would continue to lobby for more state government support and a fairer distribution of the financial assistance grants.

In 2017-18 Byron Shire Council is proposing that there is no increase to water, sewerage, waste and stormwater charges.

For a residential household on an ‘average’ rate, the annual total rates bill of general, water, sewerage, waste and stormwater charges, including the 7.5 per cent special rate variation, is proposed to increase by a total of $38.00 in 2017-18.

Ratepayers with properties in the Business and Farmland rating categories can expect their rates to increase beyond the proposed 7.5 per cent special rate variation.

This is due to a proposed redistribution of the rating yield burden, which will see an additional increase in the rates paid for properties categorised as business and farmland (beyond the approved rate peg and Special Rate Variation limits) and reduction in the rates for residential properties. This shift is a result of feedback from the community during the special rate variation consultation process.

If adopted by Council in June,  the ‘average’ general rates for Byron Shire Council are proposed to increase in 2017/18 by:

  • Residential  - average rate $1,179 an increase of $38 or 3.35%
  • Business Other – average rate $2,418 an increase of  $361 or  17.55%
  • Business  Byron Bay CBD - average rate $5,173 an increase of $720 or 16.17%
  • Farmland - average rate  $1,963 an increase $372 or 23.38%

You can read Byron Shire Council’s yearly Operational Plan, four year Delivery Program, budget, fees and charges at www.byron.nsw.gov.au.  Submissions can be made until 25 May, 2017.

Special rate variation expenditure for 2017/18:

 

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.