The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) has approved Council’s application to permanently apply a 10.5% (2020-21 inclusive of the rate peg) increase in income from rates above the current level. The Special Variation (SV) will replace an existing seven year SV due to expire on 30 June 2021.
Armidale Regional Council Mayor Ian Tiley said it was important that Council maintained income from the temporary SV permanently to assist in improving the financial position of Council and address the requirements of the Performance Improvement Order placed on the Council last year by the Minster for Local Government.
“IPART’s decision announced today is welcome news as we set a course for long term financial sustainability,” said Mayor Tiley.
“There is a long road ahead for Council to be free of the financial limitations we are currently operating under. This will require tremendous financial discipline from Council for many years to come.”
At the same time as the permanent SV will be applied this year from 1 July, 2021 Council must also harmonise its rates across the former Armidale Dumaresq and Guyra Shire councils. Due to the combined impact of harmonisation and the SV ratepayers will experience varied impacts. The NSW Government has now announced that the impact of harmonisation can be incrementally applied up to a maximum of eight years.
“The decision to spread the impact of harmonisation on our ratepayers over a number of years is welcome news and should provide significantly less bill shock when ratepayers receive their first rates instalment of the 2021/22 Financial Year,” said Mayor Tiley.
“It will be particularly welcome for Guyra farming ratepayers that were expected to be impacted the most from harmonisation.”
A report on the SV approval and the proposed implementation of harmonisation of rates will be presented to Council for consideration at the Council Meeting on 26 May, 2021.
IPART has provided a ratepayers summary document which is available here (PDF 198.2KB) for review. It outlines the purpose, impact on rates and the Council’s application guidelines issues by the Office of Local Government. It also provides a summary of concerns raised in submissions from the community.