I would like to respond to the Administrator, Rik Hart’s, suggestion that the rate rise is needed beyond three years.
He has accused local political leaders of choosing not to understand his plea.
I believe it is Mr Hart that is choosing not to understand IPART’s determination, including the massive favour they have done him.
Mr Hart says that failing to secure a longer term rate rise puts us in breach of the agreement with the bank that loaned $100M.
I have not seen the terms of the agreement but can confidently say that is sophistry of the highest order.
The bank’s caveats would not extend beyond the term of the loan.
The three- year period provided by IPART wasn’t arbitrary.
As per their reasoning, three years was given to cover the period of the loan obligations.
The loan in question is a three-year loan (Chronicle p11 Dec 23, 2020).
After three years, the loan will have to be refinanced.
It is likely that interest rates will be higher in three years.
As such, if IPART had made the 15 percent rate rise permanent, the extra revenues from that would have been insufficient to cover the new loan.
The favour that IPART has paid Mr Hart, although he’s too stubborn to see it, is to re-evaluate the Council’s financial position in three years and apply for an appropriate Special Rate Variation (rate rise) if necessary.
As local resident Kevin Brooks has pointed out on numerous occasions, there has been scant attempt to capture efficiency gains from the Council merger.
The simple fact is, if a rate rise is needed and can be justified in three years, IPART will approve it.
If Mr Hart doesn’t capture the efficiency gains that Mr Brooks is urging, logic dictates that Mr Hart will be thankful for the opportunity to ask for a higher rate rise to cover higher interest rates.
Instead of whinging about not getting a free pass to Lazyville, maybe Mr Hart should put some focus into those efficiency gains.
Email, July 18
Stephen Sizer, Narara