Approval of special rate variation by IPART
Council is facing the challenge of balancing community expectations with future financial sustainability. 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.
Council’s revenue is usually 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.
This is why in the 2018-2019 financial year Council sought residents feedback on a proposal to apply to IPART for a special rate variation (SRV).
After extensive community consultation, detailed below, Council was advised by IPART in May 2019 that its application for a special rate variation was successful.
Council’s priority in applying for, and implementing, a special rate variation is to ensure a vibrant future for the Richmond Valley.
Council held two community meetings, one in Casino on Monday 4 February 2019, and one in Evans Head on Wednesday 6 February 2019.
At the Casino meeting there were six attendees from the community, all councillors and various Council staff. Out of the six community attendees, two showed support for an increase above rate peg.
At the Evans Head meeting there were 27 attendees from the community, all councillors and various Council staff in attendance. None of the community members showed support for a special variation above rate peg.
Please click here for a copy of the General Manager’s presentation.
Written submissions were also being encouraged, closing midday Wednesday 6 February. Click here to view or download submissions.
Council lodged its special rate variation application with IPART on Monday 11 February 2020. The below documents are available for viewing or downloading.
Due to the requirement to protect the financial worksheets, not all of Part A could be uploaded. Please call 6660 0300 if you would like a copy of all worksheets.
Micromex telephone survey
A telephone poll was conducted by an external independent contracted company Micromex. The telephone survey process used a representative sample of the entire Richmond Valley community, including age, sex, and location of residents, to get the full range of community opinions. To view or download a copy of the final report, click here
Council meetings, reports and SRV community newsletter
To view the relevant Council meeting minutes, 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.