Special Rate Variation - planning for our future together
Council is facing the challenge of balancing community expectations with future financial sustainability and we need your help to make some important decisions. Like many other NSW councils, our roads, footpaths, drainage and other community assets require ongoing maintenance and upgrades to ensure they meet the level of service expected by the community.
As things currently stand, Council’s revenue is regulated under rate pegging. The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) sets a rate peg which limits the amount by which councils can increase their rate revenue from one year to the next. For many years, the rate peg has not kept pace with the cost to maintain infrastructure and provide services to the community.
We are seeking your feedback on a proposal to apply to IPART for a special rate variation (SRV). Without this, Council will not be able to sustain the community service delivery and infrastructure needs.
While we understand a rate rise is never welcome, we believe a SRV is necessary to meet the short and long-term needs of the community.
We will be seeking community feedback through public meetings on Monday 4 February in Casino and Wednesday 6 February in Evans Head, as well as via a community survey.
Our priority is to ensure a vibrant future for the Richmond Valley.
To view the Council report, community newsletter and our Mid-Term and Annual reports, click on the below images.
How our rates compare with other Northern Rivers councils
Rates are a tax on land based on a property’s unimproved capital value. How we allocate our rate revenue is determined by our Community Strategic Plan, Delivery Program and annual operational pans.
Councils in NSW are required to make decisions and set their revenue policies in the best interests of the whole local government area. This is a challenge for all councils when there are limited funds available.
Richmond Valley Council continues to have the lowest or second lowest rates across the Northern Rivers, per head of population, as demonstrated in the latest Office of Local Government data (see graph below). Even after the higher proposed rate increase of seven percent, residents will still be paying significantly less in rates than other Northern Rivers councils.
As the local government area grows, we are faced with many necessary changes and challenges and your Council will lead and respond. However, Council is determined not to go down the path of financial non sustainability. We must meet our operational spend with appropriate rating levels and our current rating levels are comparatively low and insufficient to continue to deliver our current service levels. Specific challenges for Council include:
- maintaining the current economic base
- retaining the friendly, relaxed atmosphere in our towns and villages while ensuring adequate amenities are developed
- fostering appropriate investment and development
- meeting competing infrastructure demands generated by increased population and visitation levels
At Richmond Valley Council we are committed to delivering excellent services for our communities. This is why we will be having conversations with our ratepayers to achieved a balance between how much you are willing to contribute to your future and how much it is necessary for Council to deliver
on its promises, become sustainable and meet the community’s expectations.