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Tweed rates set to rise in new budget

Australian-dollar-moneyLuis Feliu

Tweed shire ratepayers face a minor rates hike of 2.4 per cent and small increases to water, waste and sewerage charges in this year’s $194 million budget.

The shire’s draft 2015/16 budget is now on display till 29 May, after councillors last Thursday waved it through for community consultation.

Council general manager Troy Green said staff were mindful of the ‘constraints’ of the state government’s 2.4 per cent cap on rate increases when setting the budget.

Mr Green said this meant a minor increase to the general-fund rate of 2.4 per cent, along with increases in waste management ($17.40), water access charges ($10.50) and sewerage charges ($50).

But when water, waste and sewerage charge increases are added, the average total residential rates for the typical home owner on the minimum ordinary rate will rise 3.3 per cent to around $2,300, for farmland the average will rise to $3,400 and for business it will be $4,470.

Projects in the draft documents include:

  • $11.9 million towards transport works such as local roads resurfacing and regional road maintenance
  • $1.1 million for drainage construction at sites including Monomeeth Avenue and Elanora Avenue
  • $2.4 million in water infrastructure including a water main replacement at Hastings Point Bridge and Hillcrest Avenue
  • $6.7 million in sewer infrastructure including relocations of sewer pumping stations and sewer treatment plant upgrades

Council’s total draft budget for 2015-16 is $194.6 million, comprising of $119.1 million in the general fund, $35.6 million in the water fund and $39.9 million for the sewer fund.

Mr Green said ‘these are challenging times for local government, particularly for councils in NSW undergoing the state government reform process Fit for the Future’.

‘Through the Fit for the Future process, the NSW Government is encouraging councils, in consultation with their community, to make appropriate use of fees and charges and in particular to ensure cost recovery and to enhance financial sustainability,’ he said.

Mr Green said the increase for a typical residential property on the minimum rate of $990 and including water, sewerage and waste management charges was 3.3 per cent, taking the total minimum residential rate account to $2,296.20 for 2015-16 and average account (properties above the minimum) to $2,610.22.

The minimum ordinary rate for Farmland will be $990 (average $3,387.93) and $1,088.35 (average $4,468.77) for Business.

Mr Green said council would use revised valuations provided by the Valuer General as at 1 July last year to assess not only the 2015-16 rates but 2016-17 and 2017-18 also.

He said land valuations in the shire had dropped around seven per cent since 2011, which was ‘only the second time values in the Tweed Shire have been reduced since records have existed’.

To view all the documents for council’s five-year integrated planning framework, visit www.tweed.nsw.gov.au/onexhibition or visit Council’s offices in Murwillumbah or Tweed Heads to view hard copies.


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