Central Coast Council’s push to keep its current rate variation of 13 per cent for an extra seven years will see a whole suite of reports open for public comment three days before Christmas.
The public exhibition period will close on January 21 for documents that include next year’s operational plan, fees and charges for community facilities such as sporting fields and community halls for next financial year and a revision of the Community Strategic Plan adopted by the Councillors in 2018.
Administrator Rik Hart apologised for holding an extraordinary meeting on December 20 to adopt the draft reports to go on exhibition two days later and admitted even he had not yet read them.
The attached documents totalled more than 700 pages.
Council’s submission for the rate variation must be submitted in the first week of February and before then, the Council must prove it has consulted the community and considered other alternatives to the rate variation.
Hart said Council should know its destiny by mid-May, not only on the special rate variation extension but also on its other IPART submission for a 34 per cent increase in water, sewerage and drainage charges to residents.
IPART is expected to make both those decisions in May to take effect from July 1.
Hart said that if Council failed to convince IPART in its rates submission, it will need to begin planning for $26M being removed from the annual budget from 2024.
On the water and sewer charges, Council expects to receive a draft response from IPART in late March.
Council will then submit its response to the IPART report soon after that.
A February 3 extraordinary meeting had already been scheduled to adopt the IPART submission which would take into account the public exhibition responses.
The draft reports adopted on December 20 to allow them to go on public exhibition until January 21 were the Revised Community Strategic Plan; the Draft Delivery Program 2022-2025 (including Operational Plan 2022-23); the Draft Resourcing Strategy, including the Draft Long Term Financial Plan, the Draft Workforce Management Strategy, and a Revised Asset Management Strategy.
See them on the website: https://www.yourvoiceourcoast.com/