Proposed rate rise is 42 percent for some ratepayers

Acting Director of Corporate Affairs, Natalia Cowley. Central Coast Council

Calculations on how much residents would pay with a proposed 15 percent rate rise rose to 42 percent for some ratepayers, Central Coast Council has conceded, if you include rate harmonisation.

The Council has adjusted the figures by which average rate bills will increase or decrease in its submission to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART).

There are still winners as former Wyong residents will still pay less than they are now, but the average has gone down to $2 a week, from $3 a week.

So instead of paying less by an average of $156, it is now only less by $104.

However, former Gosford residents have also done the sums and worked out that the increase for them is actually more like 42 percent rather than 15 percent when the rate harmonisation is included.

Council agrees and says that it is a difficult message to get across when there are two steps involved.

Step one is the harmonisation of rates between the former Wyong Council area and the former Gosford Council area.

Step two is a 15 percent rate rise added to the harmonised rates.

Step one will mean that on average, Wyong ratepayers will pay an average of 25 per cent less on land valued at 43 per cent less than Gosford land.

For former Gosford area ratepayers, step one sees them paying an extra 25 percent on average on land valued 43 percent higher than Wyong land.

Then the 15 percent rate rise will be added, if IPART agrees.

So, Gosford area ratepayers will pay on average about 40 percent more.

Wyong will pay on average about 10 percent less than they do now.

ActingDirectorofCorporate Affairs, Natalia Cowley, explained the system when she was interviewed by Scott Levi on ABC radio.

Levi also had ratepayer Kevin on the phone who said the figures that Council had submitted to IPART showed the percentages.

“I think most Gosford City ratepayers, like myself, will be shocked and horrified to learn that they are actually being slugged with a massive 42 percent rate hike rather than the 10 percent or 15 percent numbers they heard during the consultation,” Kevin said.

He accused the Administrator of being economical with the truth by not providing the real percentage increases during the consultation.

He said he hid behind sound bites like $7 a week but even that was inaccurate.

“The figures he has lodged with IPART show the average Gosford increase to be significantly more than that at over $420 per year.”

Cowley said Kevin was completely correct.

She agreed the $7 a week was actually just over $8 a week.

She explained that rates had been legally frozen since amalgamation and legally had to be harmonised this year.

She said IPART wanted the council’s Special Rate Variation calculations, not the blended figures of the rate harmonisation with the rate rise, even though the Council’s numbers had to include both.

“We just have not blended the two processes,” she said. Kevin said he didn’t believe Council was being transparent.

The figures saying former Wyong shire ratepayers will pay less doesn’t match the letter Council sent out, says Brian Davies, President of Ourimbah Region Residents Assocation.

“It says Wyong residential residents will pay more for both 10 percent and 15 percent.

“The argument for paying less seems to be based on averaging in farm and business and by saying property values are less on average than in former Gosford council areas.

“There is currently a real estate boom driven by Sydney people looking at a post- Covid world of working from home so land values will be on the rise, so everyone will be hit by a double whammy,” Davies said.

Toukley Community Action Group welcomes Council implementing rates harmonisation across the local government area.

Spokesperson, Bronwyn Evans, said residents in the former Wyong Council area had been paying significantly higher rates than residents in the former Gosford area.

“We feel that Council has been primarily focused on improvements and maintenance in the former Gosford area at our expense.

“Not only have we been paying more, we’ve been getting less.

“The next step in the rate adjustment requested from IPART is to cover the financial mismanagement highlighted by several consultant reports and the Administrator.

“It would appear that the blame for the financial mismanagement should be shared across state and local government.

“The NSW Audit Office and the Office of Local Government failed to detect errors in local government reporting and mismanagement.

“Councillors failed to understand the financial reports provided to them and most ignored (and some ridiculed) the concerns raised by their more aware colleagues.

“Senior management failed to competently manage within legislated requirements and the scope of their role,” Evans said.

Merilyn Vale

8 Comments on "Proposed rate rise is 42 percent for some ratepayers"

  1. We should dismantle this whe amalgamation arrangement..go back to separate councils. We were doing OK

  2. Yes easy solution get people to pay higher rates is this for real so they just going to get away with it this is a disgrace where is all the money?what team of corrupted system make me sick jail all of them xxxx ….. xxxx

  3. Why has the NSW government not directed action for a full-on independent high level detailed investigation of Central Coast Council’s serious, disgraceful dereliction of its duties pertaining to the professional and serious detailed accountability for the continuous and timely management of its finances including where the money was spent. As well how was the mooted increase in some rates by a publicly reported 42% calculated and by whom ?.

  4. I don’t understand how these council employees have not been prosicuted to the full extent of the law for misappropriation of our funds,they should all be in jail.I live in
    Bateau Bay and before the amalgamation Wyong council was in proffit.For god sake find more intelligent people who have a conscience and the ability to do their jobs properly. WHERE HAS ALL THE MONEY GONE???????FIND OUT!!!,DO AN AUDIT FOR THE LAST 10YEARS.ALL THE employees in the accounts department, the council board, and the auditors who obserously DID NOT do their audits properly.,as well as the mayor C.E.O..THERE HAS TO BE ACCOUNTABILITY not the attitude “I don’t work for the council now”. And also if a council employee has been dismissed for incompetency they should only be paid their weekly wage, any unused holiday leave, and accumulated sick leave if applicable, NOT A golden handshake, what kind of message is that, do a crap job and you’ll be rewarded for it,I DON’T THINK SO. Central Coast Council WAKEUP!!!!!do your jobs properly and because you CCC I now have to pay MORE for my rates probably for the next 10 to 15 years.

  5. Where did these beauocrates go to school,15 percent means 15 percent !!So some areas it’s more than 15 percent, replace one group of corrupt councilors with a corrupt beauocrate,maybe if Gosford was held by the Liberals we would get a fair deal, it’s getting to the stage of a protest, these politicians please them selves, where is that incompedent Adam Crouch, vote him out too, may as well be all labour down south

  6. What is extremely frustrating about all of this is the lack of transparency and accountability demonstrated for the people responsible for this gross negligence and incompetence as well as lack of integrity- we paid out the contract of people rather than holding them to account – BUT eh we the ratepayers will find it , if this was a corporate organisation they would have been held to account

  7. Terrigal resident | February 25, 2021 at 1:18 pm | Reply

    Obviously disappointed that people in responsible positions could be so incompetent in their job with actual misinformation only making the whole council amalgamation a true farce.

  8. It’s not 42%. Because the second part of the rate increase is 15% of the harmonised the actual rate increase will be 47%. We are once again being conned by the bureaucracy. Step 1 is for every dollar of land value add $0.28 cents which is $1:28. Then add %15 of $1:28. The answer is $1.28 x 1.15 which equals $1:47.2. That’s a total increase of $47.2% because we will pay a tax on a tax. This doesn’t include any increase in fixed charges or user pay charges such as garbage. But there is no doubt these will increase as well. Wyong residents constantly complain that Gosford ratepayers pay less. They forget that we started paying special levies long before Wyong residents. In 1996 Gosford ratepayers started paying back a loan of $54 million for infrastructure, sports amenities and to manage and purchase more Coastal Open Space System. In the last year of loan repayment we paid over $4 million dollars in levies but instead of ending the levies they were subsumed and became part of the rate base. We have been paying this for 25 years. Wyong levies started in 2014 – seven years ago. Part of the infrastructure planned for Gosford from the $54 million was $8 million for a regional library. We will never get the regional library but we are still paying for it. The current proposal for a regional library is more smoke and mirrors as the bureaucracy sets itself up for a new headquarters to replace the old Gosford Chambers that they plan to demolish. We are being reamed and Shelly Hancock is oblivious to the concerns of ratepayers with their rogue councils. Meryl you need to start with facts not the fiction fed to us by Council!

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