Armidale Regional Council is a step closer to financial sustainability and unlocking the economic potential of the region after councillors endorsed to move forward with an application for a permanent Special Rate Variation (SRV) of 50% to be phased in over three years.
A comprehensive report was presented at the council meeting held today, Wednesday 23 November that included a Capacity to Pay Report, feedback, submissions and a Summary of Community Consultation Report and a Special Rate Survey Analysis. Approval was also sought to apply to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) for an SRV of 50% (Including the rate peg) of the general rate component only (58.8% cumulative) phased in over a three year period commencing in the 2023-2024 financial year.
Armidale Regional Council Mayor Sam Coupland said today’s decision was a bold move that could set the Armidale region up to grow its way out of decline and into economic prosperity.
“Over the last couple of decades rates have not been set at a level where they needed to be which has significantly contributed to the underinvestment in the real cost of maintaining council’s assets and providing services. Even a modest increase in rates during that time would have negated the need for such bold action to be taken now,” said Mayor Coupland
We are now at a crossroads, we either do nothing and manage the inevitable decline or we turn it around and make the tough decisions that need to be made. We chose the latter and the future prosperity and financial security for our families and generations to come.”
Council will now formally notify IPART on or before the 25 November of its intention to submit an SRV application. Council officers will update the Integrated Planning and Reporting (IP&R) documents including the Delivery Program and Long-Term Financial Plan to meet the SRV application requirements. This will also include an addendum to the Delivery Program demonstrating the impact of a 50% SRV. These documents will be presented to the December 2022 council meeting to be endorsed for public exhibition. An extra-ordinary meeting will be convened in January 2023 to present and review submissions on the revised IP&R documents. Council must submit its application to IPART by 3 February 2023.
“It goes without saying that Council will continue to review its own service level commitments and generate continued and sustained efficiencies across all of its operations,” said Mayor Coupland
“We have already commenced stage 1 of an organisational restructure that has prioritised resources to achieve our ambitious jobs and growth strategy with a new Activation and Precincts team and a Land Use Planning team. The establishment of these teams is a direct result of councillors and the community’s priorities.”