Western Sydney councils to lead in rates hikes

Sydney councils given permission to raise rates by as much as 12 per cent: IPART chairman Peter Boxall.
Sydney councils given permission to raise rates by as much as 12 per cent: IPART chairman Peter Boxall.

More than 10 Sydney councils have been granted approval to increase their rates next year, which could add as much as $100 to some household bills.

Eleven councils in all were given approval by the government regulator to raise rates above minimum levels, or nearly double the amount who applied last year.

IPART chairman Peter Boxall said more metropolitan councils, especially in outer Sydney, were applying for large increases. Councils typically cited financial stress, growing populations and a lack of infrastructure. ''It highlights the different challenges facing local government in NSW today," he said.

Liverpool council will levy the single largest increase - 12 per cent - which ought to add more than $140 to the average resident's bill.

Other councils were given approval for much larger increases staged over several years: Holroyd ratepayers' bills will increase by 8 per cent this year but nearly as much over the next four. Cumulatively, that amounts to a 45 per cent rise, or a near $350 increase on this year's bill by 2019.

Mayors said they have been forced to apply for increases because the state government standard minimum increases have fallen to 2.3 per cent from 3.4 per cent the previous year.

Not every council's plans were approved. IPART rejected an application from Warringah Council for a 6.1 per cent increase. They instead granted approval for about half that amount.

Councils were required to include research gauging constituents' appetite for increases in their application. Warringah's surveys found 89 per cent of residents wanted rates to remain at present levels or to decline. More than 150 residents petitioned IPART opposing increases. The council was nonetheless given approval for a significant cumulative increase: over the next four years rates will rise by nearly 20 per cent.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/liverpool-to-lead-councils-in-rates-hikes-with-rise-of-12-per-cent-20140604-39jbn.html#ixzz33i8FGJnz


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