Tweed ratepayers face an 8.36 per cent rate rise for 2012-13 in the last of a seven-year plan to boost infrastructure which have included annual hikes of 7.5 per cent in the ordinary rate.
The draft Tweed Shire Council budget is now on display with $182 million to run the shire, and major spending earmarked for major road, water and sewerage infrastructure projects.
Just over seven years ago, the administrators appointed to run council after its sacking in 2005 were given state government approval to raise the ordinary rates by 7.5 per cent a year to keep pace with increased demand on services from a fast growing population.
The move was challenged in court by a ratepayer claiming there had been inadequate community consultation, but a Supreme Court judge ruled in favour of the administrators.
Council’s corporate services director Troy Green said that for a property with the full services of water, sewerage, garbage and ordinary rates, the minimum residential and farmland rate bill will be $2,013.60 and the minimum business rate bill will be $2,078.15.
‘This represents a total increase of 8.36 per cent for residential and farmland and 8.35 per cent for business,’ Mr Green said.
Mr Green said that because of last year’s valuations of properties by the Valuer General, individual properties’ rates may vary.
He said properties across the shire on average decreased in value by 12.76 per cent from the 2008 valuation.
‘This means that the properties whose values reduced by 12.76 per cent will pay the same as last year plus the percentage increase of 7.9 to 8.36 per cent, depending on services available at the property.
‘Properties with a valuation decrease greater than 12.76 per cent may see their rates not increase by the full 7.9 to 8.36 per cent and in some cases where the valuation dropped significantly, may actually see their rates decrease from their previous assessment.
‘Properties with decreases between 0 to 12.76 per cent will incur a rate bill greater than the 7.9 to 8.36 per cent increase as will properties with valuation increases.
‘In many respects, the rate valuations has probably more fairly distributed the rate burden across the shire because in the past, the coastal suburbs carried most of the rate burden,’ Mr Green said.
The draft budget includes:
- • $8.68 million towards road construction capital works (an increase of $841,000 from the 11/12 budget)
- • $4 million for the upgrade of the Banora Point Wastewater Treatment Plant
- • $3.67 million for water pump stations and mains
- • $2.4 million for West Kingscliff drainage, plus a further $1.6 million for drainage construction
- • $1.8 million for the Clarrie Hall Dam spillway
- • $1.75 million towards the Coastline Management Plan
- • $1.64 million towards Burringbar sewerage.
There is also $770,000 allocated for bridges, $200,000 for capital works at the aquatic centre at Tweed Heads South, $150,000 towards the construction of the Margaret Olley Centre at the Tweed Regional Art Gallery, $50,000 for works at Point Danger Lighthouse, $80,000 towards the Koala Plan of Management and $25,000 for the Uki Tennis Clubhouse.
Mr Green said the 2012/2013 budget represented the final year of council’s seven-year infrastructure and services plan which incorporated the approved increase of 7.5 per cent on the ordinary rate.
‘Additionally, council resolved to make application to the Independent Regulatory and Pricing Tribunal (IPART) for a Carbon Price Advance of 0.4 per cent, which if approved, would bring the total permissible increase to ordinary rates to 7.9 per cent,’ he said.
But he said the 0.4 per cent would be reversed in 2013/2014 by 0.1 per cent and 2014/2015 by 0.3 per cent.
‘All councils are subject to the reversal in future years, so it was important to make application for the increase in 2012/2013 so as not to be adversely affected by the reversal,’ he said.
The increase of 7.9 per cent brings the minimum ordinary residential and farmland rate to $940.25 and the minimum ordinary business rate to $1004.80.
Water and sewerage charges also have increased, with water price jumping to $2.05 per kilolitre and the state government’s waste levy of $26.70 included in the new charges.
To view the draft budget visit www.tweed.nsw.gov.au. Printed copies are available for review at the Tweed Heads and Murwillumbah Civic Centres.