Council will survey a randomly selected sample of residents about rate rise

Central Coast Council will survey a randomly selected sample of residents to ask what people think about the proposed 15 percent rate rise going to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) for approval.

This is phase three of Council’s engagement with ratepayers about the proposed rate rise.

Phase two included a letter from the Acting CEO posted to 123,935 ratepayers and emailed to a further 6,844.

More than 10,000 people took a Council online survey.

More than 70 percent wanted no rate rise and more than 55 percent said ratepayers should not pay for council’s financial mismanagement.

Council also got a whole lot of unsolicited letters and emails and it has answered questions in the 97-page consultation report which was tabled at its meeting on February 8.

Answers included, for example, an explanation of how rates account for about 29 percent of Council’s income.

In answer to criticism about unkempt roadsides, Council explained it prioritised mowing work in order of; safety (roadsides), playability (sportsgrounds), usability (parks/playgrounds) and amenity (sports surrounds, reserves, roadsides and centre medians).

The consultation report to the Council stated that Council “continues to have a serious financial situation.

“Council has already commenced a number of measures to manage costs and increase income to address the situation and long-term financial sustainability,” the report stated.

“These include significant staff reductions ($31M), restrictions on spending ($22M), and the proposed sale of assets ($49M).

“The spend on infrastructure has also been reduced from $225M to $170M annually.”

Council said these steps would only achieve 70 percent of the $76M annual savings target needed to action the financial recovery.

It summarised that the income target could only be achieved with a 15 percent rate increase.

Merilyn Vale